Close the Trailing Side

West Coast Swing Online Spins & Turns

If you feel off-balance during spins, especially when you add more power to the spin for speed or multiple rotations, you might be generating the power from the wrong place.

When people think of adding power to a spin, they usually try to throw themselves into the spin. They may lean into the forward side, twist their shoulder, throw their arms, etc. But, all of these methods compromise the dancer’s balance by distorting his or her axis right at the moment that it needs to be set for the spin to succeed.

Effective spinners, by contrast, focus on their trailing side when spinning. The trailing side needs to be opened when you are prepped and then close to create power. As the spin ends, the spinner will then re-open the trailing side in order to slow down and exit the spin.

The Drill: Prep yourself for a spin. As you close your body, focus on leaving the forward side still. Instead of creating power by propelling your forward side, concentrate on bringing your trailing side from open to neutral. By closing your trailing side, you can create power without disturbing your axis.

For this drill, it can be really helpful to take a video of yourself. As you watch your video, pay attention to your forward side. Are you moving your head, shoulder, arm, or hip when you begin the spin? The video can provide honest feedback on whether you are throwing yourself into the spin.

If you are keeping your forward side neutral but still can’t get enough power, you may need to use your feet more to create power from the floor, or you may need to make your trailing side more active in the prep in order to create torque through your body. Practice creating rotational power in smaller doses (e.g., a quarter spin rather than a full spin). When you have learned to create power in the right way, you will be able to increase the amount of rotation rapidly.

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