Improve your turns

3 Steps to improve your turns… literally

“Help me with balance in turns!” Thats the overwhelming response I got when I posed the question on Facebook of what to cover this month. Perfect because I teach a turn technique workshop with a money back guarantee. I guarantee that I can improve your turns or your money back. Hows that for an offer? Balance however, is entirely up to you!  So lets start there….

I wrote a great blog on posture which you can reference here. http://dancelouisville.com/improve-your-posture/ The main takeaway from that blog post was this. Imagine 3 coke cans stacked on top of each other. They balance quite nicely right? For the sake of this example this is how your body works while turning. You can twist and turn the 3 cans provided they stay stacked. Now imagine your legs and hips as the first can, your ribcage as the second and your head the third. If they are all neatly stacked on top of one another you are in a good position to be balanced. This will help your turning immensely.

My first drill to practice your turns look like this. Step forward onto the the heel of your left foot. (we will later call this a reaching step) Slowly roll the weight to the ball of your foot. When 100% of your weight is over the ball of your left foot stop and hold yourself in that position. You should find the left side of your body stacked on top of the ball of your left foot. Immediately you will find that it might be hard to hold yourself balanced in that position for more than a second or two. This is where the work comes it. You have two things to work on in this drill

  1. The mindset that you will hold yourself balanced and not put your right foot down! To improve your turns you’re gonna have to fight it out!
  2. By doing this you will develop the stabilizing muscles in your ankle that will improve your balance.

Next try the drill of rolling your weight onto your left foot but as your weight arrives on the ball of your left foot use the right foot to gently push yourself into a half turn. This is called a ‘Pivot Turn’ As you finish your half rotation you’ll need to fight again to not put your right foot down immediately. Instead stay on the left foot and concentrate on your posture and balance. Once you have developed the ability to rotate that 1/2 turn calmly and perfectly balanced you will be well on your way to better turns!

Here are your 3 literal steps to improve your turns

Finally lets tackle a full turn. For the general purpose of this article we will call it a 3 step turn. A 3 step turn has 2 main parts, a reaching step which we use to set up our turn and a gathering step which we use to speed through the turn. Lets quickly discuss how this all works.

First, we take a ‘reaching’ step in the direction of our turn, in this case we will take a reaching step with our left foot so we can turn to the left. We take the step onto our left foot like in our drill our eyes looking into the direction that we want to land the turn.  Its important as we arrive on the foot that our left side of our body is forward over the foot and the right side of our body remains behind. This is what we call a ‘prep’ as we are preparing to turn.

Second, we are going to take a ‘gathering’ step as we close our feet transferring the weight to our right foot. Its important to make this step as small as possible. No more than hip widths distance. Anything larger that that and you are in for some serious balance issues. Its at this point that we are really moving quickly through the turn.

As we finish the turn we will make another ‘reaching’ step onto our left foot in the same direction as our first step. We should land balanced over the left foot with the left side of our bodies slightly ahead of the right exactly as we entered the turn on the first step. The first and third steps of a three step turn should look identical.

There you go! My favorite drill for balance and 3 steps to better turns. Literally 3 steps. Get it? Three step turns! LOL Thanks for taking to time to check out my tips. Hopefully you will be well on your way to better turns, balance included!

All the best in dance,

Brian ‘B’