Control Your Spins With Less Power

West Coast Swing Online Spins & Turns

When you spin, which way do you fall out? If you’re like most dancers, you fall in the direction of the turn. Falling in the direction of your turn is a sign that you’re spinning with too much power.

In this tip, we’re going to throttle all the way back to the absolute bare minimum you need in order to get around. Excess energy is one of the easiest ways to blow up your spins. So, learning just how little power you actually need will help you stay in control on the dance floor.

The Drill: By yourself, find a space where you can spin easily (don’t pick a carpeted floor for this drill!). Your goal is to do a half spin on one foot with as little power as possible. Your spin should naturally die after 180° of rotation. If any part of your body keeps rotating, or if you had to open your arms or legs in order to slow your rotation, you used too much juice.

Keep practicing this half turn, and adjust your power so that you use just enough torque to get around. Chances are that this will be a lot less power than you are used to.

In the dance, having too much power in your spins will force you to compensate in other ways. You may fall out of the turn, you may have to open (read: flail) your arms in order to dissipate the energy, or you may have to bend your body during the turn in order to counteract the excess force. None of these are good options. By training yourself to use the least amount of power necessary to propel the turn, you increase the odds of staying in control while spinning.

For advanced spinners: It is possible to generate and control more power during a spin. However, it is incredibly easy to use the wrong techniques to compensate. In order to maintain a solid foundation, you should practice the bare bones version on a regular basis.

Bonus Variations: As you improve your spinning mechanics, you will discover that you can power more turns with less energy. That’s how it becomes possible to execute multiple spins when, as a beginner, you could barely make it through one. As a result, you should plan to revisit this drill at least every couple of months. The amount of power you need today in order to execute your half spin will probably be too much after a few months of spinning practice—simply because you’ve improved your mechanics and hence don’t need to overcome as much poor body movement when executing your spin. By revisiting this drill periodically, you can recalibrate your minimum energy so you can stay in control of your spins.

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