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Ballet Talk for Dancers

REALLY dizzy after turning


PerfectFeet

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I seem to get pretty dizzy when we do multiple turns or pirouettes across the room. Yesterday, we had a turning competition and afterwards I had to leave class for a few minutes to go to the bathroom because I was so nautious.

 

Any idea why I get so dizzy? Does this have to do with spotting? Maybe my diet?

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Victoria Leigh

Spotting! But, don't forget that you are also VERY new to ballet! I don't think that you should expect to be doing multiple turns or pirouettes across the room after only 3 or 4 months of study. :thumbsup:

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Ok good. I'd much rather hear that it is a problem with technique than find that I just don't have the stomach for it!

 

If we just do the turns diagonally across the room, its not too bad and I can recover quickly... I think it was just that "competition" that put me over the edge. When there is a holiday coming up, the last class is usually just a fun and games class. (I obviously would rather be doing ballet) I spun around for at least a minute. I'm surprised I made it to the bathroom!

 

I need to practice spotting. I understand how balance works in the inner ear (the centrifugal force of spinning throws the "goo" up on the walls of the membrane etc...) So it makes sense that the less whipping around, the less dizziness.

 

Thanks for the insight!

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And in some ballets, there are pirouettes that are so S-L-O-W, that you don't need to spot! Ambition is a good thing. We all just had to learn how to satisfy it. First, get a good balance, then turn it once. It's just a balance that happens to turn. That's all a pirouette is! :thumbsup: Doing diagonals of successive turns will throw anybody for a loop this early in their training.

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... I understand how balance works in the inner ear (the centrifugal force of spinning throws the "goo" up on the walls of the membrane etc...) So it makes sense that the less whipping around, the less dizziness.

...

Balance is a complex and flexible capacity, of which the inner ear is only a part. Kinesthetic perception plays a role, as do the visual and auditory senses - all ways of calibrating your position in space. I remember reading of a person who developed little pendulums to hang from your glasses, for himself and other older people with inner-ear problems. It was said to greatly improve their balance, and reduce falls.

 

Spotting lets you get more visual information, but I would speculate that it also takes practice and training to actually use this information for balance. I know that I am not there yet!

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In reflecting on my beginning to do lots of turns across the floor and consequent dizziness, I’m not sure spotting helped me that much as it relates to reducing dizziness. I could be wrong, but that’s the sense I have now. Yea, I know that goes against the conventional wisdom.

 

The thing that helped me most I think was that after getting dizzy, I would consciously relax, accept the fact that I was really dizzy and not think it was something to be avoided, and get ready for the other side, not worrying if I were still a little bit dizzy. Also, over time, I think that time when I felt really disoriented kept getting shorter and shorter. Perhaps I was just spotting better, I can’t say, but I do know the room kept spinning less and less.

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Ok, please let me put this into perspective: You started your very first ballet class 4 months ago, and you're currently working on turns en diagonal and getting dizzy?????

 

Seems to me that you're working on something a 2nd or 3rd year student would just be starting! :wink: Ergo, in putting the cart before the horse, you stand a very good chance of getting dizzy.

 

Time to work on the basics to improve the dizziness factor. :blink:

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I danced daily until I was about 22 or 23 years old. I took a 25 year "break" and when I re-started, I was mildly surprised by how very dizzy I would get - especially with chaines across the floor. I found that if I would stop and focus on one single thing it would help me regain my equilibrium before the next side....I would put my thumbs together, side by side, and focus on the line between them - about 12 inches from my face...it helped me. Also, as I have been dancing regularly for about 2 years now, I do not have nearly the trouble I had at the beginning. Whether this has to do with better spotting or just becoming accustomed to the turning and recovery again, I can't say, but dizziness is no longer an issue.

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I do a similar thing to to Kacy when I get dizzy after a series of turns- I hold my hand up vertically along the line of my nose, and the dizziness stops immediately. I do have difficulty spotting- my teacher finds it amusing because in a diagonal series she can see my lips moving as I say SPOT to myself each turn!

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If you have just started studying ballet, you may need to slow this part down to learn to spot correctly. I can remember waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back we would focus eyes on a spot and shuffle our feet around while keeping our eyes on the spot and head as front as possible and then snap the head around and keep on that spot while our feet continued around. Also turns on diagonale were half turns with hands on our shoulders until our teacher saw we had the spotting technique. I'm sure there are other ways to teach spotting. Your teacher may not be aware you need basic instruction with spotting. So ask for help.

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I was taking Cecchetti grades one and two, but a scheduling conflict forced me to be skipped ahead to the 2, 2/3, and 3/4 classes. The owner of my school is a former president of the Cecchetti coucil and had it approved that I start examining at grade 2. (this coming spring) Apparently my instructors thought I was ready for the higher levels. I'm not complaining! - I want to progress as fast as possible. I DO feel like I've been thrown in to something a bit more complicated than I was ready for, when we do the enchainments for some of 3 and all of 4. It is really just a matter of learning the steps for me, until my body programs the momentum. I just figured out how to decode the course books recently, and that helps a lot!

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I've (or had) motion intolerance which is really severe and serious; I could barely speak in a car and had never been able to read anything on a road trip (not even a text message on my cell phone); I had to take pills to go on a +20 minute drive.

 

And I too had pretty much "deadly" vertigo and sickness when I first started doing turns (especially continuous turns like chaines) and I collapsed a few times because of that too. Now it's been 1 year since I've started taking classes, and I don't get dizzy/sick after turns. Even in the car today, I've noticed that I'm not affected that seriously anymore, I could change songs on my mp3 player by reading their names and etc. without getting sick so I agree that it's a "time issue". Every time you try to turn, your body learns how to tolerate it a little bit more so after enough time you don't get dizzy anymore; even motion intolerance affects you less... :thumbsup:

 

P.S.: In my condition, and imho, spotting does not have anything to do with this increased toleration, I still cannot spot correctly during pirouettes. But breathing does; if you do not breathe correctly, sickness and dizziness just get worse. :thumbsup:

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I have been dancing ballet for 25 years (yikes!) and consider turning to be one of my strong points. A couple of years ago, I developed motion induced vertigo that was the pits! It first happened in the summer time. I would get the "spins" by even turning my head to one direction while laying in bed! You can imagine how that affected my ballet classes! ;) I was worried that I some sort of brain tumor or something... it was just so odd. I did go to the doctor and it just turned out to be allergy related. I have experienced this several more times since then, mostly in the summer time for about a couple of weeks at a time. It is very frustrating. Taking antihistamines did a help some.

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Shannonian101

Definetly need to work on spotting!!!

If you start to get dizzy, put your thumb out all the way and pull it closer and closer, and keep focused on your thumb. This should help clearing the dizziness.

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Just a reminder that spotting is not just about whipping your head around. It is about focusing and seeing one thing. Every time you bring your head around make sure you are really focusing on that one thing each time.

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