Mastering Multiple Spins
Successful spins require great balance. Unfortunately, you will sometimes be surprised by a spin in the wild, and so you need to be able to establish your balance quickly in order to execute the spin. In this drill, you’ll practice combining spins in a sequence so that you are forced to set spin in a shorter period of time.
This is a more advanced spinning drill, intended for dancers who already know the mechanics of chaines turns.
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In this drill, you will combine chaines turns while alternating directions between each triple step. This drill will force you to maintain your balance throughout the turn; if you come out of the turn off-balance, you won’t be able to set successfully for the next turn.
Start with your weight on your left foot, and take two walking steps forward (right, left). On your left step, prep yourself for a turn to your left. Followers, this is your position on count 2 of an inside roll.
Triple down the slot while spinning to the left. Every step should travel down the line, and you should come out facing the same direction that you started. You are only doing a single rotation.
Your weight should now be on your right foot. Take another two walking steps, this time with your left and then your right. On the right step, prep yourself to turn to your right.
Finish with a triple turning to your right, again traveling straight down the line. When you are finished, your weight should be on your left and you can repeat the drill as long as you have space to travel.
When you have the direction of the turns in your body, take out the walking steps. Start with your weight on your left, prepping your body to turn left, and do so with a triple. As you finish the triple on your right foot, immediately prep your body to turn to the right, and do so with a triple. Finish that triple on your left, prep your body, and triple while turning to the left, and so on for as much space as you have.
Slowly increase the speed of this exercise as you become more stable through the change of direction. The goal is to build your ability to sustain your balance. Because you need to quickly change direction of your spin, you will get immediate feedback on whether you are stable or falling out of your spins.
Controlling Double Spins
Double spins on the anchor of a pattern are very common but also technically difficult. Even if your spinning technique is good (followers) and you are setting up the spin correctly (leaders), it can be challenging to control the energy of the spin on the way out. This drill will give each side of the dance a method to smooth out the ending of the spin.
The Drill—Leaders: Leaders, you have an easy fix for double spins. Give your follower an extra half beat to settle the spin. Instead of leading on the 1 for the next pattern, stretch through the 1 and move & 2, as a delayed or hitch rhythm. The half beat makes a huge difference in the follower being able to stop the spin, settle into the anchor, and move into the next pattern.
With a partner, practice doing a basic pattern with a double spin on the anchor (e.g., whip with a double or sugar tuck with a double). Slow your roll through your foot on the upbeat of the anchor so that you finish settling on the following downbeat. Then, lead &2 and resume normal timing for the next pattern.
The Drill—Followers: Followers: this is an instance where the normal timing of WCS can make things challenging. Normally, you would spin on 5&6 or 7&8. The challenge comes from the timing of the triple. Since a triple is an acceleration, you are accelerating through the turn and then need to slam on the brakes on count 6 or 8, in an anchored position.
To give yourself a better chance of settling, you can syncopate the timing of your spin. As your partner leads a sugar tuck or whip with a double, you are stepping out and prepped for the spot turn on the upbeat (4 or 6, respectively). Instead of waiting for the downbeat of the anchor to step, syncopate your triple into &5 6 or &7 8. This syncopation moves the acceleration so that it occurs at the start of the anchor, rather than at the end. You now have both beats 5 and 6 (or 7 and 8) to slow down the energy and settle into the anchor.