"Dancing Tid-bits" Issue #75, Thursday, Oct 8 2001

Dancing Tid-bits
Spot Turn or a Switch Turn?

Letter: Hi Dr Max, I have been a loyal reader of your column for quite some time. It's been a great pleasure to learn from the unselfishly knowledgeable person like yourself. I just want you to know that you are greatly appreciated for all the work and effort you put in these articles. I have a question and would like to ask you. Please give me in as much details as possible for this question "what is the difference between spot turn and switch turn in Rumba?". Is it the foot work or the speed of the turn or there are no difference at all?

Thank you very much Dr. Max, Sincerely Eric

Reply: Dear Eric, First, you can address me and simply say Hi Max! and that would be fine. Thanks for kind remarks and you bring up a very interesting discussion.

Actually I did not hear this term in Latin until last year when a champion Don Johnson referred to it. He said "they now call a spot turn a switch turn." I was indeed aware of a step in Slow Foxtrot where you "switch" weight. Switch Turn involves a "switching mechanism" where the weight changes take place between 2 feet but feet essentially do not move from their locations, however indeed, there is a change in the alignment. So let us try a combo in slow foxtrot: Based on Alex Moore's concept of a switch turn, I cooked up this amalgamation myself. I tried it with Kelly and it really works.

Let's do a feather finish ending DW. These are Man's steps, ladies reciprocate. Now take a strong step like a slight contracheck with LF forward as if it is the 1st step of three step, in CBMP with a strong right side lead (for a winding effect), count S. However check the weight and keep it slightly back. Lower, then transfer weight back on to ball of RF and with a slight transient rise, make 1/2 turn to right and switch the weight back to LF, lowering to Heel. You have made a "Switch Turn" to Right. End facing DC against LOD. Now a Feather step in this alignment RLR and then a Top Spin back to facing DW and proceed with a Three Step. Due apologies to those who are not in on English Foxtrot.

Scanning the new ISTD manuals, indeed I get the impression that they consider Spot Turn to be the same thing as a Switch Turn. Now if you believe in the above switching mechanism, I beg to disagree that Spot Turn is a Switch Turn. but then who am I? If you widen the concept of a switch, then most turns in latin are switch turns.

Spot Turn. Actually it can be said that a spot turn is 3 forward walks turning L or R. Say for a left spot turn, after 1/4 turn to left on the later 1/2 of the preceding beat of music, take a RF walk forward, count 2. Turn 1/2 to left on ball of RF, count &. Now, you could have either brushed the LF to RF or leave it on the spot. If you brushed take a forward walk on LF. If you left it on the spot transfer weight to LF but in any case count 3, turn further left 1/4 on &. Now, a RF forward walk again ending to side. Do remember "splitting" the turn and keep it "Ticking." When turning on balls (of your feet) remember what Pierre Allaire said, keep the heels flat kissing the floor.

Hope it helps, With best wishes....Max

Questions and comments to Dancemax@aol.com, thank you.

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