Before you can start improving your spins, you need to know what to focus on. This article will introduce 3 type of spins and turns that you’ll need to understand to master your spins in west coast swing. Without knowing these it will be difficult to master spins in WCS.
Here are the 3 types you’ll need to know:
- Pivot Turns
- Chaine Turns
There are some techniques in west coast swing that can be learned off of the dance floor during practice time. Spins and Turns are one of them!
There are no shortcuts to improving balance and becoming a good spinner but you can really accelerate your progress by having a plan and knowing what to focus on.
Take action on this >> Download this video: “The first step to improving your turns!”
1. Pivot turns
Pivot turns keep your feet in a constant position during the turn. You will be lined up with the same side of your body over the same foot. (left side over left foot, right side over right foot) You will rotate around the weighted foot 1/2 turn before transferring weight to your free foot.
Pivots rotate in half turns and can be found in the follower footwork on the 1/2 pivot into the basic whip, and at the end of the basic inside turn. You have no doubt been using pivots with out being conscious of them!
Understanding how to keep your body position constant in a pivot will be crucial in improving your spins. Learning to master the pivot will be the first step in developing balance and body awareness in your spins. Mastering them will help correct some of the most common flaws we see in spins and turns.
Some people are more visual in their understanding. This video will give you a great description of the pivot turn as well as a the #1 drill to help your balance for all types of turns in west coast swing.
2. Chaine turns
Chaine turns involve closing the feet together tightly to rotate quickly before taking another step. Most fast spins in west coast swing are chaine turns, so they are the turn of choice in most situations. Multiple spins, whips with double outside spins or most any spin performed during a triple step will use this technique.
Its important to understand the concept behind them. Chaine is french for chain. Multiple spins in WCS are really just single spins performed one after another. If you wan to improve multiple spins, you must first improve your single chaine turn.
Mastering them will help improve your speed and if you are faster through your turns, you will have more time on the other side to pay attention to the lead ultimately making your a better follower.
Pirouettes are one-footed spins and they are currently an iconic move in west coast swing. Social dancers all over the world are learning them. Followers will see various forms of these difficult spins on the dance floor: pot-stirs, fouette turns even tight chaine turns being turned into pirouettes.
These turns are very difficult to master and require impeccable balance for the followers. The follower must understand correct weight placement on their foot, how to stack their weight and the correct way to use their arms. Understanding this type of turn is quickly becoming a ‘must have’ technique for advancing followers.
(NOTE: Want to Learn to Master Pirouettes for WCS? You can do so in this course.)
How do you improve your turns for WCS?
Well as we said at the top of the article you have to know what to focus on and how to practice it. We call it deliberate practice. Above, we covered 3 turns, Pivots, Chaine’ turns and Pirouettes.
Posture and balance are also crucial but the big key to improve improvement however comes from a dedication to learning and deliberate practice.
Deliberate practice is not mere repetition. Deliberate practice is designed to improve performance by targeting a shortcoming in current performance and attempting to rectify that shortcoming. There is an explicit goal in deliberate practice, and all the activity is targeted towards attaining that goal.
If your goal is improving your spins…
Take action now – Watch this free video>> The first step to mastering spins in WCS
All the best,
West Coast Swing Online
Brian Barakauskas is the founder of West Coast Swing Online. Over the last 20 years Brian had taught people in over 20 countries around the world. He also is the owner and lead instructor of Dance Louisville in Louisville KY which has been one of the driving forces for WCS in the midwest of the United States. He is a sought after teacher and coach who has impacted prominent dancers across the globe. Connect with Brian on Facebook.
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