Turns and the Basic Spot

Watching old dance videos with my family there’s a pattern we notice. First, Shawna’s always in her corner (back, stage left). And rarely on camera. But on the rare occasion the camera does catch me, it’s usually followed by me doing a turn. And as though the camera man also couldn’t bear the sight of my off-kilter flailing, there’s a quick pan to some other area of the stage. Aw, Shawna just can’t turn. But that’s ok.

Doing the contemporary style I’ve become most comfortable and happy in now, the turns are different. Gooey, so staying on your leg doesn’t necessarily apply. You’re leaning, using the momentum and falling out of it, not even able to spot because you’re watching your arm or contracting and focusing on the floor. Thing is, in order to consider myself a good dancer I should be able to do something basic like, say, use my core and stay on my leg. Because when pirouettes do make an appearance, that’s kind of key.

Today in class, we did the dreaded cross-out-in-cross-out-down-turn. Those regular across the floors of my childhood. But something was different today. Today Jenni gave me a simple note – she noticed I’m waiting too long to turn my head and therefore, while I’m spotting, I’m killing the momentum and off from where my body is going as we carve around the inside of that imaginary PVC pipe. Loosening my head atop my neck, I tried again. And suddenly, it was so much easier.

There’s still work I need to do, but it’s amazing how much a simple note can cause a giant leap forward. I know one of the main issues I’m having and can feel the difference when it’s addressed. Imagine if that note got to me in high school?

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