Dancemax Letter #44, Thursday, March 29, 2001

Dancing Tid-bits
Pivots and Spins

I love to read ALL of the postings you have on the Dancesport UK web site. You provide a very thorough and good explanation to some of the dance topics, which help us understand better on ballroom dancing. I am wondering if you could explain what is the difference on "PIVOTS' and 'SPINS" and how it is related to one another? Thank you, William (from British Columbia, Canada).

Dear William: Thank you for your kind remarks and here are my thoughts:

PIVOT: When a turn is made on one foot, it is called a Pivot. Usually the amount of turn in a Pivot is 1/2 or less. Pivots can be of different varieties such as
  • Toe Pivot: turn on ball of foot
  • Heel Pivot: turn on Heel
  • Slip Pivot: Just Slip your foot on Toe and pivot
  • Natural and Reverse Pivots indicate direction of the turn
Classically Pivots are used in Ballroom Dancing. Technically when you do a Pivot, the other leg is held Close to Pivoting foot or so called "held in CBMP." If this CBMP is not held and disappears quickly, we call it Pivoting Action. which is so commonly applied in many turns.

In Latin Dancing this action is also used but usually not referred to as Pivot. There are many figures that utilize pivots and are called Pivots per se, as in Samba and Waltz. Also, a Switch Turn (Spot Turn) or any Latin turn for that matter uses pivoting type action.

SPIN: is like spinning of a wheel. There is usually a complete turn or more. However my common sense tells me that if we are going to spin I think we will use more than one foot. We do that in Traveling Spins in Paso and American Spin in Jive. The most important thing to keep in mind is that dancing usually requires turn or travel. These are two different actions and must be kept isolated. Either your turn on a step, or you travel. If you are turning, the axis of rotation has to be kept vertical through the supporting foot. So, if travel and turn is called for, you turn, stop turn and travel and turn again etc. It is for this reason that in traveling spins (Paso Doble) you see the stopping action momentarily then followed by another rotation and so on and so forth.

Spins will utilize Pivots or Pivoting action for spin execution. A good example is Natural Spin Turn where Man uses a Pivot on step 4 and lady the *pivoting action.

Questions and comments to, thank you.

This article is part of and should be seen in the frame context of Dancesport UK, Tid-bits