Controlling Double Spins

West Coast Swing Online Spins & Turns

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.

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