General Dance Discussion > How long did it take for you to master multiple turns and spins?

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by JustLiving08, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. JustLiving08

    JustLiving08 New Member

    Also, do you spot?
    What about the fancy spins? (Like spinning on one foot, or the coffee grinder? haha, I have no idea what that is called... I just remember Mary pointing it out one season during an audition.)

    I was surprised to learn that some people can spin without spotting. I guess since I started learning how to turn and spin, I've always had my instructors emphasize how important spotting is. It wasn't until I met my current instructor that I learned some people can spin without spotting and have no problems.

    I've been dancing on and off for over 2 years now (mostly off I guess, I tend to start and stop a lot haha) and I've decided that if nothing else sticks from all the lessons and time I've put into dance, I would like to have *at least* learned how to spin well. (It used to be, I had to have at least mastered cuban motion, but since I've stopped pursuing any latin dances, that kind of got scrapped. lol)

    Apparently I've already picked up quite a few bad habits, some of which I didn't know about until I started lessons with my current instructor... like my neck tightens up or something? I also tend to want to pop up instead of relax/bend my knees. Most of the time I don't even notice myself doing it... but since my instructor pointed it out to me, I try and be extra conscious about it now when I'm dancing.

    Anyways, I'm just curious how long it will take and not to mention how much effort/time I will need to put into practicing before I can spin like Tatiana Mollman or other pro dancers.

    (Mods, if there's already a post on this, I'm sorry! I did a search and browsed a few pages but didn't see anything...)
  2. Ray Sison

    Ray Sison New Member

    I improved a lot after a couple of years of attending a ballet workout (ballet exercises) class. My feet and legs in general improved, as well as my spins--due in large measure to improved balance.
  3. wonderwoman

    wonderwoman Well-Known Member

    I need help here too, I look like a total dork when I attempt spins in salsa.. thats if I don't miss the lead or chicken out. Whats worst?
  4. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    Generally in dancesport - my current specialization, yes. But there are certain turns that are not spotted in dancesport too.

    Yes, spotting and good turning requires a relaxed neck (but good posture - stretched vertically). As far as the knees, it depends on the type of turn you're doing. The majority of the turns I've done in ballet and dancesport are turns done on straight knees.

    It depends on how much focused/good practice you put in to it. Also depends somewhat on your natural ability to turn and your body type.
  5. JustLiving08

    JustLiving08 New Member

    Hmm... interesting. I don't have a background in ballet, but my dance instructors have told me that ballet dancers tend to turn with straight knees and it's a hard habit to break when they start learning some of the partner dances (e.g. salsa, wcs, etc.). I tend to turn with straight knees now, which makes me pop up/change my height when spinning and it's something I'm trying to change now. I wish my earlier instructors either caught it when I first started or pointed it out to me because habits are hard to break!

    Also a lot of articles I've been reading on spinning/turning technique have mentioned to have a relaxed or bent knees when spinning (e.g. Edie the salsa freak). Those articles were also geared towards the social dances though, so maybe turn/spin technique also depends on the type of dance you do?

    I have been considering maybe dabbling in a bit of ballet, just to get more technique but at the same time, I'm too scared! Ballet seems so intimidating to me because it seems to be so strict and structured. I wonder if there are any classes targeted specifically for adults and don't require you to wear tights or whatever, haha.
  6. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Since you mentioned Tatiana, I assume you're doing WCS? There are a whole lot of things to say about turns and spins generally, but for WCS specifically, I found it crucial to master pivot turns. That seems to be the most common kind.

    I have a lot of ballet background so I was doing my turns all wrong for WCS - I was doing chaines, not pivots, and rising way up on my toes. Also, what I was doing wrong was not transferring my weight fully from one foot to the other at each part of the pivot. WCS needs a grounded pivot turn with the knees a little bent and the heels just barely off the floor.

    When I say transferring weight, I mean, you step forward onto one foot, pivot a half turn and step back onto the back foot, pivot another half turn and step forward onto the front foot, etc. Say to yourself, "step forward, step back" as you go through the turn, to remind yourself, and keep your thighs tightly together through the process. This technique will also keep you from straightening the leg too much.

    As for spins, which are in one spot, you need to keep a really strong core (pull in your ab muscles) but I'm sure other folks will have more ideas.
  7. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    In Int'l latin I turn mostly on straight legs, in ballet on straight legs, standard/smooth - a more relaxed leg/knee. I'm sure the technique depends upon the style of dance.

    There are adult classes that do not make students adhere to strict clothing guidelines.
  8. FLBachatera

    FLBachatera New Member


  9. jerseydancer

    jerseydancer Active Member

    yes, ballet is the answer for learning this. i have been taking ballet private lessons once a week for about 6 month and my balance, core, and ability to turn improved. i dance standard, so i have to relax my knees and hips when i turn, in ballet the technique is different you line up everything and knees and hips are locked to keep the balance, my ballet teacher is very creative and combines teaching the core ballet technique with modified technique for ballroom standard dancer, she helped me to find my balance for both styles
  10. Ray Sison

    Ray Sison New Member

    The ballet exercises changed everything for me dramatically...
  11. wonderwoman

    wonderwoman Well-Known Member

    oooooh good idea, will keep that in mind.

    spins in salsa are one of the things i desperately want to improve upon.
    they frustrate me so much.
  12. jerseydancer

    jerseydancer Active Member

    for me the best value was finally finding strength in my lower back, balance improved as well drastically, and overall strength i am not hanging on my lead anymore ever (that what he said and my ballroom coach)
  13. Ray Sison

    Ray Sison New Member

    Also, my arches and insoles got stronger--for things like rising in the waltz or doing chasses in promenade...
  14. wonderwoman

    wonderwoman Well-Known Member

    my teacher did ballet first.. will have to ask him about this when i get back to taking lessons.
  15. Ray Sison

    Ray Sison New Member

    It definitely helped the strength of my legs and feet, my balance, and my posture...
  16. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    I don't spot, probably because my first serious learning to spin was skating, where almost no one does it or can do it (at least not on spins--the was one male singles skater at the Olympics who spots on his JUMPS! It looks bizarre and I have no idea how he does it.) You just learn to not be dizzy. Sort of...don't look at anything.
  17. ireniecat

    ireniecat New Member

    I really didn't like ballet when I was younger, and I still don't really like dancing ballet... But I LOVE doing barre exercises. :D
  18. dlgodud

    dlgodud Active Member

    Sorry danceronice, but I have to laugh after reading your post and imagining a skater spotting when one does spins. :uplaugh:
  19. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Oh, you should have SEEN that guy...I have GOT to remember what his name was...this year's Olympic men's. Watching him *spot jumps* was just BIZARRE!
  20. Ray Sison

    Ray Sison New Member

    In the movie Center Stage, the strict instructor--pointing to the barre--told her feisty student (Zoe Saldana), "It's here [home]." Something like that. Trying to reassure her...

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