Turns & Swivels

 

Turns and spins are fun to do; however, they require some specific

skills. You must first become aware of the different types of turns

and the most common problems you might encounter. Then you

are ready to start your adventure in turns.

 

TYPES OF TURNS

Very simply, there are only two directions in which you can rotate

on a standing foot; towards the outside of the foot or towards the

inside of the foot. For example, if you are standing on the left

foot and rotate left, you would be turning towards the outside of

the supporting foot; if you rotate right, you would be turning

towards the inside of the supporting foot.

 

From these two directions, you can execute five types of turns or rotations:

1) Inside Swivels

2) Outside Swivels

3) Spiral Turns

4) Pivot turns

5) Spin Turns

 

By learning these 5 types of rotating actions you will be on your

way to mastering any type of turn or rotation in any pattern.

 

SKILLS REQUIRED FOR TURNS

There are four main factors that can influence your ability to turn:

1) Your ability to maintain your balance on the supporting leg-column

2) Your ability to swivel the supporting foot enough to complete the turn

3) Your ability to create power for the turn

4) Your ability to absorb the power in the turn

 

You were introduced to the first factor in our previous issue – the

ability to maintain balance on the supporting leg/column.

 

In this issue we will be concentrating on the second factor – the

ability to swivel on the supporting foot.

 

 

TURN EXERCISE 1 – INSIDE SWIVELS

(Print this page so you can try this exercise as you read it).

 

This exercise will allow you to practice swiveling on the supporting

foot,as well as developing a habit of bringing the free leg to the

supporting leg before you turn.

 

Stand with your right side next to a table or kitchen counter. Put your right hand on the counter. Stand with your feet together and your weight towards the ball of your right foot.

 

Take a long step forward with your left foot – by pushing from your

supporting or right foot. As your left foot becomes the supporting

foot relax the knee and bring your right knee to the left knee. On

the ball of your left foot, swivel 1/2 turn to your right (towards

the inside of the left foot). Put your left hand on the counter.

 

Now you are standing with the counter on your left side. Feet

together and the weight towards the ball of the left foot.

 

Take a long step forward with your right foot – by pushing from your

supporting or left foot. As your right foot becomes the supporting

foot relax the knee and bring your left knee to your right knee. On

the ball of your right foot, swivel 1/2 turn to your left (towards

the inside of the right foot). Put your right hand on the counter.

 

Now you are (as you were on the beginning of this exercise) standing

with the counter on your right side. Feet together and the weight

towards the ball of your right foot.

 

Repeat the same swivel exercise several times. As you become more

proficient with this action try performing the same swivel action

with your supporting leg straight as you arrive and swivel, and

relaxing it as you are ready to move on to the next leg at the end

of the swivel.

 

This swivel action is used as a step in dances like Swing, Rumba or

Cha-Cha. It is also the turning action used in walk around turns and

walk around underarm turns. (Any half turn that turns towards the

inside of the foot and moves back to the same direction it came from

is actually an inside swivel).

 

Many dancers are surprised to discover this inside swivel action in

many of the patterns they currently dance. Inside Swivels are also

the foundation of the third type of turn in our list – Spiral turns