How To Spot Your Dance Turns

Photo Credit: Nisian Hughes | Getty Images

Photo Credit: Nisian Hughes | Getty Images

An essential skill for dancers, “spotting” is a technique involving the head and eyes that help keep a dancer oriented and aware of the movement, direction and location in space during turns like fouetté turns, chaîné turns and piqué turns (it also helps reduce dizziness associated with spinning!). As you work on mastering your turns in dance class or for that dance routine you’ve been rehearsing, here’s what you need to know about spotting:

How to Practice Spotting
Start slowly, but repeat these steps at faster rates of rotation and turning in both directions until your spotting can be done smoothly and crisply:

  1. Stand facing a mirror with your hands on hips, elbows pointing straight out. If there isn’t a mirror to practice with in front of you, find a focal point.
  2. Relax your shoulders and lengthen your neck as if someone were tugging the tops of your ears toward the ceiling.
  3. Start to slowly rotate your body in either direction with small steps of your feet.
  4. Keep your eyes on yourself (or your focal point) as you turn.
  5. When your head can no longer turn enough to continue focusing on your spot, immediately snap the head around toward your other shoulder to find the spot again.
  6. Continue rotating the body until it catches up with your head. 

A Few Spotting Tips:

  • Be sure to keep your eyes, chin and shoulders level as you turn. Tilting the head or body in any way will throw off your turn, not improve it.
  • Keep your eyes on your spot as long as possible.
  • Stay sharp—your spotting should never be sluggish.
  • On every turn, try to refocus your eyes as you find your spot again.