Getting your turns or spins or pirouettes right can take lots of practice – you need to work on these basic turns a lot which will DEFINITELY help you improve the more complicated turns.
Here are our top tips for terrific turns
- Posture – keep lifted up. Engage your core or ‘use your tummy muscles’ so you are feeling tall and upright and strong
- Every turn is a balance – practice the balance until you can hold it strong without wobbles – be it in 2nd, 1st, one foot or two
- SPOT – focus on where you are going and make your head the last part of your body to turn. DON’T look at the floor – if you do that’s where you’ll end up!
- Push into the floor enough to move the turn but not too much that you move more than you should – this takes practice to get the right push
- Strong feet means its easier to turn – work on your feet – toes, rises, ankles, alignment so that when you turn your body is fully in line and avoid any wobbles or injuries
- Decide to finish your turn – don’t fall out of it, decide to end the single or the double with a clean movment
- Visualise yourself – imagine yourself doing the turn perfectly over and over again, and keep this in mind every time you do one!
Let us know what you find hardest about practicing your turns
Being able to do the front or box splits is one of the key things for dance – it allows more scope in movement and steps and also helps with kicks and other flexibility based steps too.
But improving them takes dedication and can’t be done over night – and definitely not just once a week at class!
Tips to improve your splits
- Always warm up – warmer muscles work better and prevent injury
- Never just go straight into splits – work through exercises first to loosen the muscles
- Start with a stretch with legs straight in front of you and flexed feet. Reach forward bending from the hips not your back and aim for your tummy to reach your legs. Hold the stretch as long as you can breathing in and then when you breath out, stretch a little further – getting closer to your legs each time
- Open legs to straddle (like a big v) with your knees pointing to the ceiling. Reach to the ceiling and take it to a side stretch on your left – hold for 10, repeat on the left, then take it forward – aiming to keep your knees facing the ceiling but your tummy towards the floor
- Sit on the floor – as if your legs would be crossed, leave on on the floor and stretch one out in front of you then pull it up towards your chest and hold. Repeat on the other side and then repeat our first stretch exercise
- Sit on the floor and put the soles of your feet together – aim to get your knees open and down to the floor – hold the stretch as long as you can.
These are key to improving your front splits. Step out with one foot as far as you can without pain – your foot should be flat and your knee straight above your ankle. This doesn’t have to be very far. Now, put the toe of your back foot on the ground as far back as you can with your leg straight and get into a lunge. Stretch and feel it in your groin and back of the leg. Then straighten the front leg keeping your feet where they are and aim to get your tummy on your thigh – hold this stretch. Repeat on other foot.
These steps may seem simple but they can be tricky when your children are first learning to do them. But they are key to almost all forms of dance so getting them right is important.
They use different parts of the feet, there is the change in weight, there are positions of the legs to consider too. So taking a little time with them will really help their development!
Making sure that they understand what parts of the feet they need to use is important. There is the flat foot – where the whole foot is in contact with the floor – just like when you are standing. There’s no weight more at the front or the back – it is even across the whole foot.
Then there is the ball of the foot – where if you say stand on your tip toes (unless you are a pointe trained ballet dancer) is where most people will end up. For this step they will be using the flat foot and the ball of the foot.
This step can be done on the spot or travelling. However the idea is the same. The “change” is swapping the weight from one foot to another – just like a step.
So starting with this idea of a travelling ball change – simply step right foot, then left.
To make it a ball change – you step onto the ball of the foot for the right step, then onto the flat foot of the left. So there seems a little lift up on the right (ball) step, and then a drop when back onto the flat foot of the left.
Exactly the same idea if you step with your left foot first.
If it is on the spot – again – same idea just change the weight from one to the other with the first foot/step being on the ball and the other flat foot.
You can turn this step into a huge range of other things – you can turn it, and a kick, add direction, height, incorporate a huge number of other ideas too.
Once you have the basics – have a play around and see what you can do
In Dance a turn is a rotation of the body – they can be quarter turns, half turns, full turns or even multiple – turning two or three times!
There are many types of turns and they will have different names depending on the style of dance as well as what is actually involved in the turn.
Some you turn on one leg – this is known as the supporting leg, the other is in this instance “airborne” or off the floor on most occasions and is generally known as the working leg. Others you turn on both feet, some you turn in the air. If it is a turn in the air the first leg to leave the floor is the leading leg.
We thought some links to youtube would be helpful so you can see different styles of turns that are most commonly done in our classes. Simply click on the blue link to be taken to the video
Pirouettes: how to do a pirouette for jazz or modern dance, though it mentions ballet and the ideas are the same the working leg would be turned out – http://youtu.be/1tACJ0bjPiE
This post covers the basics for your ballet pirouette – http://youtu.be/LLTM_KP0Dsg
Pivot turns: popular in jazz and freestyle, as well as theatre – http://youtu.be/5CxMKEx6bZo
It is important to spot when turning to avoid getting dizzy – this means you find a spot to look at and focus your attention here – as you turn – your eyes stay focus and your head moves around at the last moment to look back at the same spot.
This takes practice and helps if you hold your core or your tummy muscles strong to help balance
In some dance genres and in Labanotation, a turn in which the performer rotates on a pivot point without traveling is known as a pivot.Pivots may be performed on one or on both feet; the latter is sometimes called a twist turn.