Spotting technique: head positioning?

#1
Ok I just watched and rewatched some videos I took of me dancing this weekend and I must say the spotting doesn't look as sharp as it felt while I was dancing and the spins looked slower (granted I do actually forget to spot sometimes when I'm tired, like halfway through a long song :lol:)

BUT it looked like my head is tilted to the side, so that during a spin I actually look like I'm a bit slow and not spotting

Anyways, my question: Does anyone maintain a specific head position to make a spin like more crisp versus more fluid. I like contrasts, so I want to look sharp when the spins are faster, matching staccato beats, but I also want to look like the spins flow together when the music is more flowing, less percussive

When I intentionally control my spotting on spins it feels like I get the desired effect, but on video is something a little different. Not terrible, just different.
Free spins seem ok, they look sharp and spotted, but I'm not sure about lead spins, they seem sluggish. A possible solution is that I need to 'snap' or whip the head around to look sharper and faster. Also I keep getting bumped on the head by leaders (who are mostly used to shorter girls) so I probably tilt my head back or to the side to not get hit :?

I've seen some dancers with head tilted slightly down, and also the head looking atright ahead. I think I've employed those too, I just haven't thought about the differences in speed and effect before

I'll try to upload and post some videos when I get my conversion hardware to show what I mean
 

chachachacat

Well-Known Member
#2
Head weight is a big factor. They say your head weighs as much as a bowling ball. If you are tilted in any direction, it can throw off your spin. I say head straight, aligned with spine.
 

mamboqueen

Well-Known Member
#3
Africana...I think it's just going to take a lot of repetitive practice (and focus) till you start doing it correctly with any regularity.

What I *try* to do is start my body turning and then snap my head at the last second (sounds painful when I'm reading this).
 
#4
Thanks guys :D will try to concentrate on moving head last (I actually pulled a neck once doing that lol)

I think part of the tilt is a style I absorbed a while ago, besides trying to protect my head/hair hehe.
I was watching a famous NY salsera lastnight and she does something similar thing, it's at the end of a set of spins. It feels cool when I've done it in the past, gotten compliments, but I wonder if it slows me down and I don't quite like the look

I do also get lazy with the spotting sometimes, especially if I don't expect the lead to spin men (i.e. little or no prep). I need to learn to do it without thinking, just like the prepping torso-twist <sigh>
 
#6
lol for real! I have to use 2 or more scrunges to tie them up and they still come off. at least it gives me rest breaks in the middle of a dance when I tell the guy that I have to stop dancing and re-tie my hair :lol:
 

Rosa

New Member
#7
chachachacat said:
Head weight is a big factor. They say your head weighs as much as a bowling ball. If you are tilted in any direction, it can throw off your spin. I say head straight, aligned with spine.
Yes, that's what I was taught, and what I try to do, not only when spinning but in every part of my salsa.

I say "try" because people who've read my posts elsewhere on DF will know that I have a terrible habit of ducking my head when I dance which I'm working hard at overcoming.

One of my teachers who worked very hard with me on this issue (all credit to her! :applause:) said to me when she saw me dancing with my head held high, "There, doesn't it make you feel like a queen?"

She was right. It does. :D

Rosa :)
 
#8
another teacher I know always says "chest up" to maintain balance


Re speed of spins and how the spotting looks, it's a totally different result when I wear heels. The spins are faster, although control is sometimes an issue since I'm not used to wearing them. Jazz shoes are a bit slower (depending on floor), so spotting loses the sharp, snappy look. I have to use one foot to get faster spins, but response time, to prep or follow into a prep is still slower. but they're more comfortable and make me more accessible to shorter partners
I would wear heels more and learn to like them, but the problem of being lead in spins when i'm on 2-2.5 inch heels is worse :( they're sexy and fast but I can't stand it when the guy is tippy-toeing to turn me grrrrrr
 
#9
i've been working on the head snap too. there is a lot of attention paid to it here and the better follows always have distinctive habits... right now i tend to slow down the snap on the final spin of a multiple-spin combination and kind of more languidly whip it around for emphasis, provided the music tempo allows for it.
 
#12
scullystwin42 said:
Kindra said:
Also, keep in mind....generally, things look slower on video. :)
Ok, my teacher told me this too. Sorry for the dumb question, but why? why does it look slowe?
I would imagine because it's not 3 dimensional and there is probably some delay in any recording. But honestly, I'm not the best person to give a technical answer. :)

I've never enjoyed watching a performance on video especially after seeing it live.
I remember showing family members (who couldn't make an event)videos of different competitions or performances...seemed like I was always something to the effect of... "You should have been there! The energy in the place was crazy!, I know it doesn't look THAT exciting....but...". :roll:

:)
 
#13
africana said:
Anyways, my question: Does anyone maintain a specific head position to make a spin like more crisp versus more fluid. I like contrasts, so I want to look sharp when the spins are faster, matching staccato beats, but I also want to look like the spins flow together when the music is more flowing, less percussive
When I'm spotting, I try to keep my spot a bit higher than eye level. That way, I can avoid the trap of "looking down" (or looking like you're looking down) and it doesn't throw off my center. My spot is also usually my partner. The guy I dance with the most is about 4" taller than I am, so I use his nose as a spot. Another guy I dance with on a regular basis is about an inch shorter than me, so I use his hairline as a spot.

As far as snappiness goes, try holding your spot just a little bit longer before turning your head around. That way, you'll have a little less time to turn your head around at the end of the spin, forcing a bit more speed and more sharpness.
 

Larinda McRaven

Site Moderator
Staff member
#15
Kindra said:
scullystwin42 said:
Kindra said:
Also, keep in mind....generally, things look slower on video. :)
Ok, my teacher told me this too. Sorry for the dumb question, but why? why does it look slowe?
I would imagine because it's not 3 dimensional and there is probably some delay in any recording. But honestly, I'm not the best person to give a technical answer. :)
Yes you are on the right track. We measure speed by contrast. We drive fastrer than we assume we are going in winter during a snow storm because we cannot see that are car is moving past the scenery when everything is whited out. We cannot see the sun moving across the sky but we do see it moving down as it sets against the horizon.

So we can see three dimensions of contrast in person. But on tv we only see 2 dimmensions of contrast. So our brain is missing a third of info about how fast or slow we are spinning on the video.
 
#17
africana said:
analyze away 8)
For the most part, your spins seemed to be fine. You seemed to be spinning at the rate that you were being led, and also in time with the music.

I did notice that things appeared to go smoother/cleaner in the clip with the taller leader, and I don't know how much of that was a function of his height (or his experience) when compared to the shorter leader in the other clip.

Also, there were a couple of times when your feet started to get further apart during a multiple spin, which may have made it difficult to execute the "paddling" style of spinning. I noticed that happening only once near the end of the clip with the taller leader, but a few times in the clip with the shorter leader. I think at least once (or more), though, the shorter leader's spinning technique seemed to be a little off, which may have thrown you off-balance first, so that you opened your feet simply to maintain your balance and keep from falling. If you are constantly worrying about your balance (particularly with shorter leaders), then I can imagine it would be difficult to concentrate on your feet and your head positioning at the same time.
 
#18
you are awesome big10 :D

Yes the lead height makes some difference in both my mental comfort level but also in my ability to respond.

Another issue is those darned flat shoes. they're comfortable and fairly versatile but because I'm not always on the balls of my feet, it takes a conscious and good prep to make a spin look the way it should look (i.e. less paddling). I'm usually adding syncopations with foot taps and/or body movement which feel better and more grounded when feet are flat. So to switch from that (or when I think I have time to play :roll: ) right into multiple spins tsk tsk I have to play catch up with paddling

Also with the shorter guy, I think released the tension in my arm/shoulder too early in anticipation that he wasn't going to spin more than a couple :p and then tightened too much (which is instinctive but never works) so I traveled right into him.

But actually i'd say he's my favorite spinner, mostly cos I don't have much time or warning to prep but somehow it still feels safe 8)

I haven't been going out much but want to work on this
Medira said:
As far as snappiness goes, try holding your spot just a little bit longer before turning your head around. That way, you'll have a little less time to turn your head around at the end of the spin, forcing a bit more speed and more sharpness.
 
#19
2 things..

1 does anyone else find it hard to spot when the guy is moving around? For some reason it throws me off like if i do multiple spins and hes moving side to side or soemthing i feel i cant come back to the same place cos hes not in the same place...lol

2 after watching the clips and this is a bt of a threadjack, does it bother anyone else when there are 2 congas playing, i find the 2 contrasting rhythms really annoying, the only time ive been in a club where they do that is in NY and its not annoying during the main part of the song but 2 conga solos i find irritating...maybe im just irritable...lol

btw your spotting looks fine, it varies from guy to guy who you spin better with, just keep practicing at home without a man and it will eventually make a difference when spinning with a man. its much easier to do what you want when youre in control
 

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