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I hope it is okay to bring something over from another thread.


In the teacher's forum, Ms. Leigh said

Also check to see that she is not delaying the spot. The old way of teaching spotting had them leave their head, start turning, and then spot. IMO, that does not work nearly as well as starting the head with the moment of impetus into the turn.


How do you spot? I'm having a hard time understanding how you would spot by moving your head with the turn- do you then increase the speed of it so that it reaches back to the front before the rest of your body does?



I did learn to spot with my head staying in place, then whipping around quickly, so that the effect was the head always being forward. I don't have trouble spotting in my strong direction, but in my weak direction, I often get really dizzy. This dizziness didn't happen until after breaking my neck, so I've always reasoned the neck wasn't well practiced in the 'whipping' around to that side and the muscles didn't adjust to doing it as well (could actually just be because I do that side less and nothing to do with my neck). Do you think learning to spot a new way will help me learn to spot better on my weak side?


I'd love to hear anything anyone has to say about different methods of spotting.

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Just seeing this. I originally was taught to spot with a long delay of the head, whipping the head around at the very end. I was never a good spotter. Then, I had a teacher who told me to look where I was going - that is, to try to see where I want to be when the turn ended. I basically start the turn (if a pirouette) in one movement, but my head goes around faster, instead of staying behind. For me, this has monumentally changed my pirouettes.

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Interesting! I've never heard of that way... Something to try out!

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The teachers got into a bit more of a discussion about the mechanics of it. I've never done a prep with a rounded arm, so I'm not sure how it would work for me.

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The other important thing with spotting is to make sure you focus yours eyes. We don't spot simply so we can try and give ourselves whiplash! We spot so that our eyes can remain focused for as long as possible whilst the body is turning. It's the difference between spinning in a circle and letting the world blur infront of you, and the body spinning but the eyes finding a point to focus on each time you turn.


Imagine if you were spotting with your eyes shut - not much point! :) Not focusing the eyes can have the same effect. Make sure you are actually spotting with your eyes as well as everything else and focusing on a point or an object each time your head 'whips' around.

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that is true, miss persistent!


However, I have been in productions where I could literally not see anything well enough to really focus when looking anywhere except to the next dancer on stage. In those situations it is helpful to be able to spot without actually seeing what you are spotting! :)


I am not sure if it is helpful to actually "practice" that - spotting blind, as it were - so it is probably better to get students to really focus and if/when they get onstage and see nothing, they are probably advanced enough to deal with it.



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I have an 'issue' with spotting..... It seems as if I can just about manage it for a pirouette, although I'm sometimes not totally sure if I have my eyes open because it feels like a bit of surprise when I'm facing the front again!


Thing is, if we are supposed to be doing turns across the room (chaines, pose, and I can't spell any of the others!) its as if my head just gets stuck looking at the corner we're heading towards. So do keep focusing on the corner, but my head stays still and looking sideways! Sometimes I can do one turn with a half decent spot, but then the head just stops moving. It's incredibly frustrating because I feel as if my body can do the step from the neck down, and my head just won't behave......



P.S. - Has anyone tried this wearing glasses and without? I can see ok without my glasses, but certainly better with them - would that make spotting any easier?!

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Spotting isn't necessarily easier with glasses, because mine fall off as the turn progresses. However, it is immensley easier if I wear contacts. The ability to see GREATLY affects the ability to spot. (I can spot really strongly on my right side and thus have a strong spot even without my eyesight, I need to be able to see to spot to the left.)


One spotting exercise we did in high school was to do fouette turns and every 3rd turn change the spot, so you'd spot front, then spot side, then spot back, then spot side again. (These were not good ballet fouettes- just sloppy jazz ones (again as opposed to good jazz ones), so don't be too impressed by my technique). You could probably do this with paddle turns in place too. That might help you teach your head not to get 'stuck'.

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Whilst experimenting in my kitchen, I discovered that what I've been trying to do is to keep watching the 'spot' by looking almost 'over' the shoulder closest to it. Which unless my head starts rotating 360 degrees is not going to work!


Seems like in order to 'hold' the spot as long as possible, my head has to move with my body to a certain extent, then 'catching up' right at the end - is that right?


When I'm facing forward, its more like looking forward for as long as possible and then whipping round to catch up. But they're not supposed to be different are they?!



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Hi doormouse - yes, I've tried spotting with and without glasses, and I really find the answer is contacts :-D. Without any vision correction, I have a hard time "finding" the spot that I'm spotting quickly enough, and with glasses, I find that I slow down my spot too much because I'm afraid of the glasses sliding off my nose as I whip my head around! Usually, the most I can manage without putting my contacts in is a very slow single pirouette. Anything else, and I end up feeling really off-balance.

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I remembered my contacts today, so I am hoping tonight in class I can do a double to the left. Last week I was able to do doubles to the right 'blind' but my turns to the left were absymal. I'm also hoping chaines to the left go better. I got really dizzy last week.

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that is true, miss persistent!


However, I have been in productions where I could literally not see anything well enough to really focus when looking anywhere except to the next dancer on stage. In those situations it is helpful to be able to spot without actually seeing what you are spotting! :)



This is also true Diane! Which is why I suggested focusing on a 'point or object' :thumbsup: - to me it is the action of bringing the eyes back to the same "spot" each time that gives focus (hence the term spotting) rather than what you are actually seeing. Personally, I always find it easier to spot something, but when you are faced with that vast blackness, if you have developed good spotting habits as you said - atleast you will have a fighting chance! :)

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