Turns & Spins: Part 4 – Pivot Turns

Filed in Turns & Spins by on March 19, 2014 0 Comments


The Pivot Turn is a traveling type of turn used in most dances.

As we discussed in “Inside Swivels” (Part 1) of this series on turns
and spins, there are only two directions in which you can rotate on a
standing foot – towards the outside of the foot or towards the inside
of the foot.

From these two directions, you can execute five types of turns or rotations:

1) Inside Swivels
2) Outside Swivels
3) Spiral Turns
4) Pivot turns
5) Spin Turns

By learning these 5 types of rotating actions you will be on
your way to mastering any type of turn or rotation in any pattern.

In this issue, we’ll continue to concentrate on your ability to
swivel on the supporting foot.

This is important, because as indicated in our prior tip on
“Outside Swivels (Part 2), many problems with turns occur
when the supporting foot does not turn enough. As a result,
the free leg tries to complete the turn by going around the
supporting leg. This causes a twisting of the hips and a
subsequent loss of alignment and balance on the
supporting column.

(Print this tip so you can try this exercise as you read it).

This exercise will allow you to practice pivoting on the supporting
foot, and traveling with your turns.

Stand with your right side next to a table or kitchen counter.
Put your right hand on the counter. Stand with your feet together
and your weight on your left foot.

Take a step forward with your right foot, stretching your left leg
and keeping your left toe touching the floor. As your right foot
becomes the supporting foot, pivot a 1/2 turn to the right, keeping
your left leg behind your right leg as you turn. Put your left hand
on the counter.

Now you are standing with the counter on your left side, weight on
the right foot and the left leg pointing backwards. Now step back
on the left foot, and without dropping the left heel, pivot a 1/2 turn
to the right, keeping your right leg in front of the left leg as you turn.
Lower left foot heel at the end of the turn. Put your right hand on
the counter.

You are now on your left foot with the right leg pointing forward
and the counter on your right side. In this position, you are ready
to step forward onto your right foot and repeat the exercise.

Practice this exercise several times starting with the counter on
your right side and pivoting to the right. Then try the same exercise
starting with the counter on your left side and pivoting to your left.

As you get more proficient, you can practice these pivot turns away
from the counter. Concentrate on keeping the spine straight and
both elbows on the same horizontal level. Allow your eyes to only
look straight ahead at the end of each 1/2 turn, and eventually try
only to look in the direction your pivots are traveling. This will stop
the “dizziness” sometimes produced by looking around when you’re
turning (much like a Merry-Go-Around effect).

Just be patient and keep practicing! You’ll quickly find that pivots are
really fun to do and very exciting to watch. Plus, they can be danced in
conjunction with a partner or individually.

Happy Dancing,

Blanche & Emilio


Next Issue – “Spin Turns” – A very popular type of turn that allows you to stay in the same
spot while turning – used in many of the rhythm dances like
West Coast & East Coast Swing, Cha-Cha, Salsa, and Samba.



Blanche & Emilio Librero have been operating their own successful Dance Studio
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