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eyesight and turning.

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Does bad eyesight make spotting and therefore turning harder or is this something I am inventing to make excuses for myself?


:yes: Since I started wearing glasses (which I don't wear in class) I seem to have got much worse at spotting. My eyesight isn't terrible but I don't get a good sharp focus without my glasses on. Does anyone else have this problem? What happens if you then wear you glasses or contact lenses in class? does that make a difference? Somehow I feel like I should be able to turn with my eyes closed so it really shouldn't make a difference, but it feels like it does.



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Knock, knock, parent here - my DD couldn't turn at all until she got contacts. Being able to see made a HUGE difference!

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One thing glasses do is distort your field of vision. You get used to it in everyday life, so it becomes unnoticeable, but I wouldnt be surprised if in something very different like turning, it starts to have an effect again.



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Alicia Alonso had learned to spot very well before her detached retinas seriously compromised her vision, but she continued to spot, even when she could hardly see anything at all. She claimed it was actually easier!

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Which proves that it is really a head action, rather than an eye action....however, I do think that one needs to be able to focus in order to LEARN to spot and to develop that head action. Once the action is consistent, the vision is probably less important.

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I wear glasses all the time any more in class unless I’m so sweaty that they might fall off during a turn. In my case it makes no differences whether I am wearing glasses or not when I turn. As Victoria says it is the head action that counts and even when everything you see is fuzzy you can spot on a part of that fuzz during a turn.


Though I’ve never tried it, I suspect closing your eyes while turning will result in disaster. Your balance is influenced by your eye focus (though not the clarity of that focus). A good exercise for balance is to do any ballet balance and then close your eyes and hold the balance. Much more difficult than you might think.

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This is really interesting. An emphatic 'yes' from a contact lens wearer, but lots of logical reasons why eyesight shouldn't really make any difference. Maybe it is psychological and you think that if you see clearly and crisply you are turning crisply too. I certainly feel fuzzy in the eyes and fuzzy in the movement....and I just don't remember it being this hard when my eyes were fine, but perhaps these are rose coloured spectacles I'm wearing now...


I can understand that the turn is in the head action and not the vision and so really it should be possible without clear focus. But I feel like there is a slight hesitancy now that my eyesight has deteriorated, probably only a fraction of a second, between when I come round and when I see what I am spotting on. That fraction makes the ending of the turn fuzzy and not neat and clean. I notice it especially when I try and do a double turn, or chainees or any sequence of turns, and that fraction of a second seems to loose me momentum and balance before the second turn - I can't see myself at the front quickly enough before I have to turn again. And because I keep turning in a series and each time I go round I don't get a chance to focus properly everything just ends up in a blur and I end up feeling dizzy, even if I'm doing a good head action...hmmm, I don't know...


I had heard of Alicia Alonso, she is really inspiring. But she must have been an incredibly talented before she lost her eye sight.

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I am used to dance with contact, thus not wearing them certainly affects spotting. do you were glasses for the whole time during the day, or just occasionally? I think this might make a difference

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I wear them when I'm reading or using the computer (which is pretty much all day). I think it is making my eyes lazy and I am starting to feel like I need to wear them at other times too although I'm resisting that.

I'm not long or short sighted, but have an astigmatism (my eye muscles used to compensate for it but after 10 years of studying they gave up) - can you get contact lenses for astigmatism if it is to do with the shape of your eyeball? I don't really fancy wearing glasses in class, my face gets so sweaty and I'm sure they'd fly off when I turn which is the only time I'd need them :)

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Yes, you can get contacts that correct astigmatism, but you must find a REALLY top contact lens expert to do it. I went to a number of doctors before finally getting to one who was successful in finding the right lens and the fit. The lens is a bit different than a normal soft lens, but it is not a hard lens either. It just has a bit more weight and substance, and I found it not only very comfortable, but a lot easier to handle than the very soft lens that I used in the other eye. It is called a Toric lens.

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I'm short sighted with a mild astigmatism, and wear glasses most of the time, but contacts for dance classes. But as it's only a mild astigmatism, I've never bothered to have contact lenses made to correct it - just the myopia. But I'm under medical advice not to wear contacts for more than 3 hours a day anyway because of dry eyes and allergies. That's OK - I prefer glasses.


Anyway, last December my contacts disintegrated (I have long term ones), and I've been really so busy that getting to the optician until recently was not possible. I've been dancing all year with glasses. Last week I finally got new disposable contacts, and have been doing class in them, and realising how much I was holding back in the head action of spotting while wearing glasses - for fear they would fly off my nose. We were also doing a very fast travelling pirouette combination and I just couldn't keep up with glasses.


I was pretty much faking spotting, and getting doubles simply because I can turn with a bit of force. But with contacts and able to see and focus, without worrying about glasses coming off, I realised how sloppy I'd got. I found it didn't help to turn without glasses as I really can't see much of the room except fuzz, and I'm not safe in a studio with 20 others!

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My distance vision is still normal although I wear reading glasses now and I wear glasses for the computer.

My husband thinks it is time for me to wear glasses all the time but my optician differs. I still see nothing but a blurr when I try to spot unless I come to a full stop and wait a second.

I think neck and head action must be off and it is likely enough. I do not have full range of motion in my neck after my car accidents.

Also I only just found out after many years that my head is supposed to arrive in front just before my body. I always thought it was supposed to be simultaneous and I am not sure if I was taught this or I just saw it that way before. Some of my blurr may be from still trying to get this right and keep up with the speed of chaines and piques and pirouettes in my not so beginner class.



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This whole vision situation is a current problem of mine as well. I am slightly nearsighted with a low perscription. I can get by without glasses except for when I'm driving, watching a movie, looking at a board, ordering from an overhead menu, at a play (you get the idea). And even those times (except for driving) I can get away with it. Ballet has been a problem though. I noticed that one time while practicing turning at home I just happened to be wearing glasses and the difference was amazing! I also started realizing that alot of my balance and turning problems during combos have to do with focusing issues. Just like someone said...you don't need to have the sharpest vision to spot, however, in order to develop that skill you have to be able to whip your head and "hit" your spot every time, and sharp vision is needed for that. I am so disoriented with focusing that my dancing gets sloppy. I am planning on visiting the eye doctor and speaking with him about contacts. Even if i only wear them for class. Does anyone else at there have low perscriptions that only wear contacts for ballet?

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I've got a toric lens in my right eye and a regular lens in the left eye. Or did up until a month ago when I developed Keratitis and was put on glasses duty. Went back for my checkup and to get refitted for contacts on Friday and it was a no go. I've progressed from Keratitis but still have Keratopophy so the eye doc is making me wait a while longer. I'm sitting in the chair going..............."but I have to go back to ballet in three weeks!!!" He seems to think by then I can be back into contacts.


Dancing without glasses is seriously not an option for me. My vision is so bad without glasses or contacts I can't see a foot in front of me (I walk into doors and walls a lot in the mornings trying to get to my contacts or glasses). My vision without correction is 20/-600. It is, um, not good. ;p


So, I'm am impatiently waiting until my re-exam this week to see if I can get my contacts back. If not full-time at least for during ballet class.


Which leads me to.........yes, something actually pertinent to this thread! If you can't see at ALL to spot ANYTHING..............that has to have some impact, right? Even in the "learning of the head action" part?

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