Salsa > yet more Spinning technique

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by africana, Jan 26, 2006.

  1. africana

    africana New Member

    I read this interview of a Yamulee dancer a while ago but it wasn't until the last two nights that I actually understood and experienced the effect of this technique highlighted below

    with the bent knees I found the thighs together, sitting into the spin feels so grounded, and quite fast but smooth. As opposed my previous habit of taking more weight off the left foot to spin faster on the right (or vice versa).
    I'm just exploring new ways of balancing and minimizing energy ("bounciness"), to achieve better control in my new/fast shoes

    The sitting into the spin feels and looks neat (and professional) - I can be on the balls of my feet without overextending to the toes and still have shoulders open. Also my feet stay together, so that I'm actually spinning on BOTH feet :) wow, and still fast
    only problem is I don't want to spend an entire dance crouched in that position so I need to prep quickly into it. needs more practice...

    anyone have more experience with this?
  2. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    The physics certainly make sense--thighs closer together, body lowered, all would seem to equal a faster and more stable turn potentially. This is what I do when I do my double/triples (alone as a man, or when I'm doing the lady's part), at least it sounds like what I do. Although, I would argue about how 'professional' it looks... it looks good and neat as you say, but to me not really "pro." When I do the "jack" turn or a hook turn I'm on both feet, but for the type of turn we're talking about, I usually am only on one foot, but I will have to try using two as well.
  3. africana

    africana New Member

    oh I was actually not visualizing this technique for men's spins, interesting! I think it's because the hip's use is more pronounced with ladies so, I'm used to seeing it with ladies

    I think it looks "professional" from combining the sitted position with a series of sharp light spots (whipping the head), quite effcient. it roots you to the ground and gives rapid rotations with hardly any translation (i.e. moving from the physical postion where you start spinning)
  4. Brendan

    Brendan New Member

    The main teacher I go to tries to encourage followers not to move their head when spotting if possible and so spotting more with their eyes. This avoids a stop-start feel to spins (which he calls 'ticking') as the head whips round. This is supposed to make multiple spins smoother. Has anyone else come across this?
    I've tried watching people like Melissa (who dances with Eddie Torres) and her head movement is very slight.

  5. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    I have heard of some people who do not teach spotting much at all, saying it throws the turn off by all the head movement... maybe using the eyes more than the head is a good medium? I'll have to try this out.. but I've always thought the head whipping around made the turn at least look more controlled, since the body parts (in this case head and torso) are moving in opposition to each other.. to me it looks very sharp, less like a spinning top and more like someone in control of his/her body. Plus it's good in partner dancing when you spot your partner and he/she gets to watch you. :)
  6. squirrel

    squirrel New Member

    :) What I know is that being grounded definitely helps... but also that it's the shoulders that move you, and not the feet. Hmmm...

    Spotting definitely helps me. And I know arms' position is useful.

    But I've heard so many versions of what the correct technique is...
  7. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Its squirrel, its squirrel! She's back!!! :bouncy::bouncy::bouncy:
  8. africana

    africana New Member

    Ok I should clarify that there are two types of spins that determine how defined my head spotting looks - how much whipping/snapping

    1- when the leader spins me: it's much easier to spot with eyes only because the head spotting actually regulates the speed to the instance of "tickings". I spin much faster when I don't "check-in" with my partner ;) on each rotation.
    BUT it looks cool when I do it, so it can be a style choice, also depending on the feel of the music at that moment -fluid and flowing, or stacatto/percussive-driven. I'm used to using my eyes, I want to improve using head snaps especially in pivots+spins

    2- when free-spinning/or in a spin-out from the leader: spotting with series sharp head snaps actually helps gives me more rotations when the moementum I start with isn't very high. So I'm continously propelling myself
    However with a slightly forceful spin-out, again I can spot several rotations (3+) much faster if I just use my sight, and stop when the momentum is gone

    Maybe some people use one formula, I don't know, I'm still playing with it all
  9. Rosa

    Rosa New Member

    That's what I was taught, too, in workshops with Carol Ann Stephenson, who isn't my regular teacher, but is a well-known teacher in the UK and Europe (don't know if she has reached the US yet.)

    It feels good to me, but, as you say, needs practice. (I can make it up to two if I have to!) But I hadn't learnt any other method of spinning before so at least there was no confusion involved. Now I just stick to her method.

    Rosa :)
  10. Paou

    Paou New Member

    If you just move your eyes, Don't you circumvent the whole benefit of spotting? I thought that the point is to reduce the motion of the fluid in your ear canals. (The ones responsible for balance.) And therefore reduce dizzyness during or after the spin. The rapid acceleration and deceleration as you bring your head around doesn't leave as much residual energy in the fluid and therefore you feel less like your head is 'swimming".

    If you don't whip your head, then your ears would be going round at the same speed with the same energy no matter how you move your eyes. As an experiment try shutting your eyes and doing a few turns on the spot with no head movement. You have no visual clues of rotation but you should still get dizzy!
  11. alemana

    alemana New Member

    i think spinning technique is a big part of what makes up the regional differences in salsa, so i wouldn't ever go on record saying there was one or the other "right" way. part of it is definitely STYLISTIC.
  12. BrookeErin

    BrookeErin New Member

    I actually get less dizzy when I close my eyes... I've had so much trouble with spotting (the head whipping way) that I quit doing it for a while and and just closed my eyes the majority of the time. Now, I keep my eyes open, but I don't necessarily spot... or maybe I am spotting with my eyes without knowing what I'm doing. I'm definitely going to practice spotting with my eyes. Thanks for the tip!
  13. delamusica

    delamusica Active Member

    I RARELY spot . . . all that extra thinking gets in the way of my spinning. :)

    And in terms of being grounded, I find that pulling my thighs together while I'm spinning (or standing on my toes, for that matter) really helps me keep my balance.

    Just my 2cts.
  14. africana

    africana New Member

    sharp head spots are incredibily helpful with fast circular NY style patterns, they get you around quickly and fast with balance - some of the leads are very advanced with their 360 copas and pivots so you need to not be dizzy after a single set of pivot+spins, cos they keep coming one after the other. One more reason to learn to spin without moving from the spot, and to use smaller steps. the head whips help bring me around quicker with less translation in my feet (pivots)

    Now with linear cross-body leads, spins are not always as compact, they could be travelling, but they are easier and don't always require a defined head whip to help propel. in this case spot with eyes all you want :)
  15. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    I don't particularly spot unless I care to add it as a stylistic thing, or working on technique.

    On a tangent:
    I was thinking about right and wrong in street salsa... Ultimately there really isn't a right or wrong way... But the more advanced the dancer, the likely it will be that there is knowledge of more efficient techniques to achieve certain motion. After which, technique does become ruled by the style we care to achieve. On the other hand, many also know the least efficient technique which gets taught as the sole technique...

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