As busy professionals or full-time students, it becomes a perpetual struggle to find the time to keep up with dance or rehearsing on your own, especially since the nearest available dance studio may be far away. Having your own small mirrored space where you can rehearse and choreograph cuts down on your expenditures, saves commute time, and also encourages you to practice more by virtue of ease of access.
This article is a part of a series of how you can build a personal dance studio in your home. Compared to building a traditional glass mirror studio, another option is a glassless mirror. Although simpler, this convenience comes at a price.
An alternative to your run-of-the-mill traditional glass mirror is a mylar glassless mirror. These thin sheets of reflective material are pulled taut and attached across a thick rectangular piece of foam. The boards can be mounted on a rolling frame, or simply placed against the wall. The mylar reflective sheet produces no distortion when mounted correctly.
The mirrors at my studio are from GlasslessMirror.com, but a vendor offering local pick-up will be your cheapest option. The one seen below is 72 x 96 x 1.25 inches in dimension, and the studio has two. At this total width, you'll comfortably be able to fit lines of about 8 dancers.
- Safe and installation free. Being made of a thin Saran-wrap like material, you won't worry about your mirrors getting knocked off the wall, turning your home studio into a swimming pool full of broken glass. Arguably the biggest selling point of these reflective surfaces, they are the no-hassle alternative to building a home dance studio using traditional glass mirrors. You can forego the home remodeling that is required for installing a traditional glass mirror on the wall.
- Any space becomes a potential dance studio. Because these mirrors are not a permanent fixture in your home, you won't need to dedicate your space for only dance. For example, at one studio where I teach, they reserve a wooden floored auditorium for the dance class. The room functions as a lecture hall, a performance venue, and by rolling these mirrors out, also a dance studio.
- Easy to relocate your dance studio. Occasionally at this studio, the auditorium is reserved for another event, causing my dance class to have to be relocated to another wood floored room. Having these lightweight mirrors mounted on wheels allows us to effortlessly move the studio around. For your home studio, if you ever plan on moving, you can easily take your studio with you to your new home, without having to pull down and repair the damage left in the wake of your old traditional glass mirrors.
- Cost. Just so you are aware, these mirrors come at a pretty heavy financial investment. As of 2016, when this post was written, just one of these mirrors would set you back $700 or more. The cost of these mirrors is generally prohibitive for a personal home dance studio - but when you factor in the cost of travelling to and renting studio space, you'll break even with just a month or two of regular use.
- Easy to damage. Since these glassless mirrors are a plastic wrap-thin layer of ultra reflective material, they can be scratched very easily compared to traditional mirrors. These scratches are irreparable, but not particularly disruptive. The best approach is to treat them just like glass mirrors.
Although these glassless mirrors are neat to the point of novelty, they appeal to a very specific niche of dancers. If you feel that you will be moving in the near future, or if you are wildly averse to home improvement projects, then this is a great alternative for you.
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