General Dance Discussion > Come on, come on, spin a little tighter...

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by BrookeErin, Jul 10, 2005.

  1. BrookeErin

    BrookeErin New Member

    ... and the world's a little brighter

    my ability to spin is a bit too dependent on my lead :oops:

    What tips do y'all have to really improve my spins?
    Specifically, I try to spot (about half the time) but I don't know that I know how to do it... can someone explain spotting?

    Hopefully, tomorrow I'll have some time to put on my dance shoes and practice spinning in the kitchen (wood floors) with your help.
  2. Bunny

    Bunny New Member

    I find that doing side and front lunges all the way down to the ground for stretches really helps my thighs take off faster into the spin...warming them up especially gives me extra spring

    Im not much help but this certainly helps me!
  3. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Spotting is just one style of head position during a spin or turn... and it usually leads to a very common problem.

    As you spot your turns your head can, and often does, shift off the vertical axis of your body over your supporting foot. This immediately will cause you to fall out of your turn.
    Try spinning without spotting first, learn what true vertical feels like, then slowly try changing the position of your head without shifting off your axis. I have no idea if this is part of your delima but it is probably the most common obstacle I see when people work on spins, turns, and pivots.
  4. cierre boca y baile

    cierre boca y baile New Member

    Lead with your head, the arms, then rest of your body, and bend your knees slightly (for balance).
    Start by doing 1/4 turns, then 1/2 turns, then 3/4 turns etc. This teaches you control. Slide your non-pivot foot around as you turn and use it as your break applying pressure to stop.

    Leading with your head allows you to spot, which is basically focusing on a still object that is at then end of your turn while your bringing your body around. The still object can either be your partner or a wall if dancing alone.
  5. HF

    HF New Member

    Very good replies already.

    Something that helped me (after working on the spins without spotting as Larinda pointed out):

    Spotting means that
    1. shoulders start to move
    2. head starts to rotate
    3. head stops and then
    4. shoulders stop

    The idea is not that head and shoulders arrive at the same time after the turn although this is seen often when people start to work at it.
  6. yola

    yola New Member

    you can work hard to perfect your spinning, but still your leader's skill at leading spins will influence your spinning....

    one more tip tough: use your abdominal muscles to keep your body centered while spinning.
  7. Ms_Sunlight

    Ms_Sunlight New Member

    Definitely. Also, if you have a bad lead it can ruin a perfectly good spin. Last night this guy was hurling me through turns, so much I kept losing my balance and was having to catch myself on my heels. Not pretty.

    I wish I'd said something to him. This guy is supposed to be a good dancer, and I keep wondering if he was (mistakenly) overstating the lead because he thought as a beginner I would need it.
  8. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

  9. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Yes. Men, when you lead a spin, don't try to crank the woman through it! I had to learn that. Lead the spin, then just put your hand up there and make it available for the woman to steady herself. Don't grab and don't try to help. Let her do it. And don't yank your hand down until she's done.
  10. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Beauty! Well said, cornutt. :D 8)
  11. Ms_Sunlight

    Ms_Sunlight New Member

    Indeed! Thank you cornutt! It's really uncomfortable being thrown around like a wet dishrag.

    :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
  12. hopelessly_addicted

    hopelessly_addicted New Member

    can't emphasise this enough! Well said cornutt! :D
  13. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Think like a corkscrew: send your energy down into the ground
    and at the same time keep the chest up so your abdominal muscles have room to twist.
  14. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Thanks! It was kind of a tough lesson for me to learn. I think this is something that should be taught to leaders up front. Last night, after our lesson, I was watching the newcomer waltz group class, and the instructor (who is pretty new herself) was teaching the slow underarm turn. She asked me to demonstrate with her, and I made this comment as I led it. "You're dancing, not starting a lawn mower!" :wink:

    Our instructor showed us how to do shadow positions in mambo, and she got me to start leading it while holding my partner's forearm just below the elbow, instead of a hand hold. She was trying to get me to lead a reverse turn from this hold. This made me very nervous; it puts the woman's arm in a vulnerable position, and I'm terrified that I'm going to injure my partner's elbow or shoulder. I was being very careful to remember my own advice, and I managed to do a few with the instructor. It still bothers me, though.
  15. africana

    africana New Member

    BE have you tried Edie the SalsaFreak's Spins video? It has a lot of great instruction and visual aid which IMO is more useful than ad hoc assembling of advice from a forum, without the visuals, and not necessarly professional technique/explanation which may/not apply to your type of dance (salsa 8) )
    But there are lots of drills for spins, both online (even this site) and these types of videos to get sharp on spinning without a partner

    personally, I like to spin but don't like to practice them outside of social dancing, mostly cos I carry on quite comfortably with the minimum and practical requirements for advanced patterns i.e. no more than 3 or 4 spins ;)
    I have learned a lot in practice, by watching and trying stuff out, and am still learning. For example there are certain "technique" such as spotting style that I would like to change or customize, but for that I would probably seek input from an actual physical teacher (or one of my instructor friends).
    Some nights it feels light and wonderful, and some nights I can't go past 4 without feeling sick!
    And then there's the fluctuations in the quality of spotting with the tempo of the song (the other night I got so dizzy at about 8 fast ones yuck!)

    there's no magic for spins, sadly, it's all practice practice.
    - it's good to have someone watch and tell you what to work on (privates?)
    - also the technique for lead-spins, specifically the hand connections is important (search for the "improving technique" thread, and others)
    - posture is important, but I hear different things on the best way to achieve it like bending knees more, or using abs more, or chest up, or head position, or a combination ...see why I don't post much on this stuff :?
    I just can't keep up hah
  16. Swingolder

    Swingolder New Member

    So, on a bad night you can only do 4 spins? On my best night, I am lucky I don't fall on 3! I am such a klutz!
  17. BrookeErin

    BrookeErin New Member

    sometimes it does feel like trying to spot makes me a bit woozy where if I don't think about it so much I can spin, spin, spin; I don't even know if I am closing my eyes or just not focusing or focusing on my arm in front of my face (I don't think so, but I tried that a few times). In class, I think... in social, I usually just dance. I think I'm getting better, but it's a slow process. I would really love to check out that video (and maybe Edie's lady styling)... could someone who has a great video PM the exact title, publisher, and ISBN so I can get the library to order them for me (very limited income at the momen). Thanx!
  18. africana

    africana New Member

    yeah you're right! the times I find myself feeling dizzy is mostly when I focus on spotting.
    But at the same time, I work on it because it seems to help achieve more and better spins - for example with free spins, it helps me with staying on the spot instead of crashing into other dancers.

    but I like the way a small number of spins (2 or 3) feel without the stop-style spots, very light, effortless, less energy, also depending on the speed

    I'll look up the video and send the link to you (I have a copy but it's at home and probably dusty ;) )
  19. dancemom

    dancemom New Member

    Sharp spotting is so important in turns...try this.....stand facing a mirror. Now turn your entire body slowly, except for your head, as far as you can turn while still able to see yourself in the mirror. (look directly into your eyes). Then when you have turned your body as far as possible without moving your head or eyes, you very quickly, snap your head around so that it is the first part of the body to finish the turn. The head is the last to start the turn and the first to finish the turn.

    Angel and Gabe have a quadruple pirouette in their duo and at the end Angel does a quadruple spin. It is up on thier website on the homepage. Just click on "Videos" and then click on the duo "Where Did You Learn To Dance?." Watch for their spots in the turns. Watching that, with these instructions might make something click. Hope this helps.
  20. Ms_Sunlight

    Ms_Sunlight New Member

    When dancing salsa, if I have to spin or turn, I spot with eye contact. I think it makes it more intimate and connected. That lingering look before your head whizzes round... it's the only thing about my dancing several guys have complimented me on.

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