Ballroom Dance > single foot spin

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by fascination, May 21, 2010.

  1. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I can get around once but twice is hit and miss...all advice greatly appreciated

    this is basically coming from half a box to a sort of checked crossover open vw
  2. DancinProf

    DancinProf Member

    In ballet, the best advice I've ever heard for pirouettes (which I think is the closest to the kind of turn you're talking about) is to think "Up!" as you turn--focus on keeping your body aligned and the rotation/momentum will take care of itself. Make sure the free foot/leg has a definite position or shape (closer to the body is easier) and is not just hanging randomly, or it will pull you off balance. Spot and don't look down.

    That's all I've got, and please apply grains of salt given that I cannot do a clean double pirouette myself. :oops:
  3. wooh

    wooh Well-Known Member

    Is this where you're on one foot, guy is moving around you, taking you with him? If so, I might have advice. If it's something different, then it would be questionable if I do. :)
  4. DanceWithMeSoHo

    DanceWithMeSoHo New Member

    Keep your posture and extend your spine so that you're rotating on an axis. Make sure to keep your focus on one point and your head should rotate last. Keep your weight on the ball of the foot that you are rotating on. The closing of the arms will propel you to spin and the opening of the arms will help you stop.
  5. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    thanks and welcome to DF
  6. Wolfgang

    Wolfgang Member

    You're spinning on the ball of your foot, right? Imagine a plumb line going from the top of your head all the way down to the ball of your foot and really focus on centering your body around that axis. Focusing on something that isn't moving away from you - such as your hand - also helps with balance.
  7. singndance

    singndance Well-Known Member

    I am also trying to master single foot spins as I have them in all my routines. I am learning to make one rotation without throwing myself backwards and off balance using the suggestions in this thread. How do I get the momentum to complete two full rotations? I have tried closing my arms to spin, and opening to stop, and can make it around only once. This move has to be executed on my own -- partner is not in contact with me. Any advice would be appreciated.
  8. rinachick

    rinachick New Member

    Coming from a ballerina, the 3 most important things to be able to spin:
    1. Spot (I cannot stress how important spotting is for multiple, un-aided turns...this is the tool above anything else that will help you make 2 full rotations and stop sharply)
    2. Keep your shoulders and hips in line (one point should not turn faster/slower than the rest)
    3. Use as LITTLE force as necessary (2 turns requires very little force...the less force you use, the less likely you are to throw yourself off balance)

    Try this for an exercise: Start doing quarter turns with all of the above guidelines, go up to 1/2, then 3/4, then full and so on until you can get 2 rotations.
  9. TinyDancer109

    TinyDancer109 Well-Known Member

    While thinking "up" with your chest, think "down and grounded" into the floor with your foot... like something is pulling/sinking the ball of your foot into the ground.
  10. This is interesting bc in ballet we started with just prep+balance to learn the position, then went up singles/doubles/triples bc I think it can be tough to differentiate spotting 1.25 and 1.75 turns. It was probably easier to teach ppl to spot the same place on the wall or their own face in the mirror. That said, I think it's a useful skill to be able to spot 1/2 turns, it just doesn't happen much in ballet.

    I would also keep practicing up to triples bc if you can squeak unreliable triples you'll probably be at the stage where you can do solid doubles.
  11. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    There are some nice ideas, but not really answers.
    Spotting is not an answer, it is an option for one very specific type of spin. I can spin perfectly well shaping instead of spotting and do so the majority of time. Being vertical is not an answer, it is an option, I spin just great with shapes and no verticality. Imagery is nice, but not an answer.

    Stopping your progressive momentum BEFORE reaching your foot in necessary. If your momentum continues while you transfer weight into the foot you intend to spin on then you will overshoot it. Learning to read the "grid" under your foot in also essential so that you become intimately aware of where your balance is and are able to make minute adjustments on the fly. Noting that one side of the body is turning fwd and one side of the body is turning back, as well as understanding and acknowledging conservation of angular momentum helps.
  12. singndance

    singndance Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much, everyone, for the suggestions...I was practicing this at home before I read your posts, and will go back to the drawing board.

    Larinda, I think I know what you mean about stopping progessive momentum. I am going into these spins off a slide in foxtrot and an agressive pressline in tango, so if I don't control the prior moves, everything goes completely haywire. I will pay closer attention to this. I am not knowledgeable enough yet to understand the "grid" under my foot, but what you say about one side of the body going forward, and one back is understandable to me. I don't think I am doing this. I will experiment. I also need to be able to do this with shaping (ideally).

    This looks so easy when I see others do it. I don't understand what happens - I make one rotation and then my momentum just fades and I stop.
  13. Casayoto

    Casayoto Member

    Larinda, while spotting and staying vertical are both options rather than requirements, I think that both make pirouettes easier. Especially when someone is just learning turns, it is important to teach the body how to spot and stay vertical. Once you learn to find your center easily, you can turn while breaking some of the "rules", but for the purposes of the OP, I would say spotting and staying vertical are very important at the moment. Of course, stopping progressive movement so you don't throw your body off balance is also necessary, but the turns while shaping are probably a little advanced for right now.
  14. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Yes and no.

    Staying vertical and spotting is one way to learn to spin. And if that is what you want in the end, then learning it that way makes sense.

    OP is asking about Smooth Viennese Waltz... and probably the end result she is looking for not vertical and with a spot. If I were practicing a new spin in VW I would practice shape and not be vertical.

    Neither is basic or advanced. It is two different ways to turn. But the majority of people assume that vertical and spotting is THE answer, when it is not. THE answer is what ever "shape" you need in the end. And learning how to identify the feeling of the right form in the beginning is the fastest way to get to the finish line, rather than taking a detour into a different type of spin, such as a latin spot turn.

    I never bothered to practice a spot or vertical spin until a few years after I was already an Pro Smooth Finalist... and then only because I wanted some diversity.
  15. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Keeping your head turned and shaping into the spin can help keep the rotation going. Spotting your head requires you to flex the energy on top of your spin ... which is out of sync with the continuous rotation of the rest of your body and can easily allow you to kill off the momentum and then you fade out.
  16. rinachick

    rinachick New Member

    I definitely wasn't paying attention to the fact that this was in smooth, not in latin. But in any case, it's important to find where the axis of the spin is, and keep all parts of your body in balance to that (ie, if your head is far left, something needs to be right to balance the spin). The exercise that I mentioned earlier is very good for learning how to spin, and how to gauge where you body is in relation to the room, and may be a good starting point for any spinning. Once you've mastered the feeling, you can spin in any position you want. My ballet teacher always used to say "you can't turn when (fill in the blank for anything that can go wrong in a ballet spin)" to which I'd simply demonstrate that I could spin in that awkward position just fine. Good luck!

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