A Movement Moment #7: Spotting

| February 11, 2010 | 1 Comment

Hey everyone! 

So, ummm, here’s the thing ~ the Monday movement posting deal was NOT so much working for the movement chick over here. 

Something about dragging my sorry self [albeit with great shoes] off a plane, driving through the tundra and hugging on my chickadees, all in a home without internet service has precluded my ability to compose anything witty on a Sunday evening. 

[No comments need be made on my wittiness on any other day, thankyouverymuch]


Movement Moments will now be brought to you “mid-week.”   Okay, I’m looking towards Wednesdays, but really, how fun is Mid-week Movement Moments?  [Again, with the alliteration. I am a thwarted English teacher, I’m afraid] 

Here’s some shocking news, again, I digress.

I was one of the unfortunate folks cancelled out of my contest last weekend. 

[Pardon me, while there is a moment of WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!  Hey, really, I LOVE what I do, but the last Saturday I had off during the winter was in 2003, no lie]

Ahem.  K, I’m back.

And, having used up all of my column inches on my rambling, I’ll be short and sweet this week.

Let’s talk about spotting. 

Yes, I know, it’s a dreaded thing.  Trust me, when I chaîné across a gym floor, I am a mess whirling dervish little bit wobbly.   It’s a basic skill, but it’s one which is overlooked oh… well, let’s just say A LOT. 

I have done extensive research on the topic, and in lieu of posting a detailed tutorial here, I’ve garnered a few bits of wisdom from ye olde internet.  [Honestly, what did we do prior to this? Oh, right… I still have an encyclopedia set, nevermind]

1. Why Spot? [Well, first of all, I TOLD you to… okay, fine]

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say:

  • It prevents dizziness by providing a fixed focus for the eyes.
  • The fixed focus also helps the dancer control balance.
  • It helps the dancer control the direction of travel during traveling turns such as chaînés and piqués

[source: “Spotting (dance technique)” from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spotting_(dance_technique) accessed on February 11, 2010]

2. Any quick suggestions, Movement Chick?  [Ha!  Refer to all previous articles, i.e.: Brevity]

  • The faster you spot, the less dizzy you will become.
  • It sometimes helps to practice by taping an index card or something at eye-level to the wall. Then walk around yourself in place for 8 counts, looking at the card the whole time. Your first four steps get you to face backwards, then turn your head quickly and take four more steps to get facing front again.
  • Also practice balancing! If you cannot balance, the turn will become sloppy.

And finally

3.  How about a basic tutorial from a true real published another dancer? Sure!  After all, my goal is to please.  Check out the Dancing Tid-bits article on Spotting Technique posted by Max of Dancesport UK, Tid-bits [webpage accessed February 11, 2010].

There is a plethora of spotting advice out there in the world, but at the end of the day, it is:

  • Pick a spot on the wall, in the bleachers, or anywhere in the logical line of sight;
  • Hold that spot with your eyes as the body begins the rotation;
  • When it is no longer possible to hold the eyes there, whip the head around as quickly as possible and lock back into that spot again. 

Try this in your cross the floor exercises, with both chaîné and piqué turns.  It’s NOT a simple learning exercise, and it takes some time to become accomplished.

However.    It.    Is.    Invaluable

Trust me!




Category: Instruction, Movement

About the Author (Author Profile)

Cheryl Myers (aka “The (self-proclaimed) Movement Chick”) is a movement instructor, adjudicator and would-be rockette, living in the Fingerlakes area of New York State. Primary affiliations include the New York Federation of Contest Judges, and the Atlantic Indoor Association. She has most recently worked with Trumansburg High School, and is continually blessed by the opportunity to consult and adjudicate for circuits around the country. In addition to her pageantry career, Ms. Myers works in the accounting and insurance fields, and yes, is great fun at parties, thankyouverymuch. Her primary job, and that which she is most proud of, is raising her two beautiful children, a future dancer and drummer.

Leave a Reply