Rotate From the Inside of the Foot

West Coast Swing Online Spins & Turns

Most dancers don’t know how to use the floor to create power during spins. In this drill, you’ll practice engaging the leg from the arch of the foot all the way up to the inner thigh in order to work off the floor during your rotations.

The Drill: To learn how to use the floor in spins, we’re going to practice simple quarter turns in the direction of the forward foot. So, if you are standing on your left foot, you are going to practice turning left a quarter rotation; if you are on your right foot, you will do a quarter turn to the right.

For this turn, stand with your feet together. This position makes it harder to create torque through your body because your hips are square. Normally, we wouldn’t want to stand like this while spinning, but for this drill it will help us isolate the leg action that creates rotational power.

Put your weight entirely on one side. Practice turning in that direction for a quarter turn, and focus on powering the turn by digging into the floor with the inside of the weighted foot. As you engage the foot, you should feel the muscles running along the inside of your leg all the way up to the thigh. These are the muscles you will use to power the turn.

As you rotate, you should feel a pulling action, as if your foot is pulling itself in the direction of your spin and your inner leg muscles are transmitting that rotation up to the rest of your body. Think of your foot as a corkscrew, twisting into the ground and pulling your body into the spin.

This technique can generate a lot of power. Keep practicing until you can do a half rotation without using other rotation through the body (i.e., no prepping an open side, using the hip, or using the arms). When you add this technique to your other sources of spin power, you should have no trouble generating the force to do several spins.

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