Weekly Challenge: Turns
It’s Monday, so it’s time for this week’s challenge! Find your dramamine, because this week it’s all about turns!
Teachers, do your students groan when it’s time to practice turns? Do you find this to be the hardest to teach? Students, don’t you just hate practicing turns?
But it doesn’t have to be this bad. Here’s a secret, even though you won’t like hearing it: even experienced dancers still get a little dizzy. It’s a biological response that you just have to get used to. But there are ways to help, and that means: SPOTTING IS MANDATORY.
Well, okay, maybe not. You can do turns without spotting, but you still need something stationary to focus on, and that can be something stationary in relationship to you, like your hand. That is probably still considered spotting. The idea is the same: don’t watch the scenery go by when you turn.
Beginner: Spotting is going to be your toughest challenge. Anyone can turn around, but can you do it multiple times in a row without getting sick? This week, get with your teacher and have them explain the concept of spotting to you. Listen very carefully, and follow EXACTLY what they say. It is so, so important to turn your head as fast as you can around at the last possible second, or you WILL get dizzy. This week, your challenge is to practice that spotting. Don’t worry too much about the speed or style of your turn. That will come later. Right now, concentrate on getting that spot down.
Intermediate: If you haven’t got your spotting skills down, now’s the time. You will not be able to do multiple turns in a row without good spotting skills. If you are pretty good, give yourself a challenge this week. How many turns in a row can you do without falling over? Keep your spot, keep your cool, and turn, turn, turn! Keep your chest lifted, keep your spot on, and go!
Advanced: What can you do with your turns? Just a turn can be boring if done too much. Yes, doing 20 turns in a row is impressive, but what else can you do with it? Can you do it with a sword on your head? Can you change the type of spin–say, start with chaines, move into barrels, and then top it off with a lovely and controlled pencil turn for a truly astonishing finale? If you don’t know what any of those are, read up on different types of turns and practice them this week. Don’t just…turn…turn with style! Make it interesting, make it exciting, and please, make sure it fits into the dance!
Tip: everyone’s body handles dizziness differently, but there are a few things you can do to help with it. Turning the other direction may help, or after your turn sequence, drop the heels heavily on the floor a few times (may not be possible in performance). Do you have a way to help with dizziness? Comment below and let us know!
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Photo credit: William Favre Slater III