"Dancing Tid-bits" Issue #112, Thursday, July 25 2002
What is Spotting? If you see a good dancer in a turn, specially Latin, you
will notice that the Head seems to swivel on the Trunk as turn is made. It,
rather looks nice. This is accomplished by technique of "Spotting".
In the last tid-bit we also discussed the mechanism of vertigo in a turn. This is caused by swaying of cilia (hair like structures floating in fluid) in our inner ear. So the logic is simple; just confuse the cilia and dont give them a chance to send confusing information to our brain. This is accomplished by Spotting. It is just like breaking a constant velocity wind so the trees wont continuously sway in one direction.
Sometime ago there was a very simple explanation on teaching spotting, shown by Shirley Ballas on one of the websites. Simply stand upright, look at a spot on the wall, turn the body and feet, not the head and then turn the head to align with the body to pick the next spot on the wall and so on and so forth. A beginner student should do that without paying much attention to the details of feet position and footwork to get a basic understanding of spotting. Then you can combine the technical details with head and body coordination and there you have it.
How many Spots? Well, it will depend on how many beats you are using to accomplish the turn. Usually one spot for each part of the turn. If there is a spin, maybe just coming back to the same spot in one quick sweep.
So it seems like that if we delay the head movement in a turn and then catch up with the body later. We have made the turn cleaner, better looking and have prevented vertigo.
My whole concept was shattered when recently a world class coach asked a question in a group class. We were doing a New York and question was what do you turn first, the Head or the Body. I was tempted to say, the body but someone already said the Head and he got the applause. Like anything else, nothing is absolute and the situations are variable. In this situation I indeed was convinced that that the situation was reversed but with the same token, there was variance of Head and Body movements.
With Best Wishes, Max