Spotting isn’t an easy skill to teach, and I hope that dance teachers will find this resource useful.
What Is Spotting In Dance?
Spotting is a technique used by dancers during the execution of dance turns. Dancers have to make it a habit to spot on each and every turn that they do.
During spotting, the dancer’s body rotates a quarter while the head gets left behind to focus on a spot. then quickly the dancer whips the head around to find the original spot, while simultaneously rotating the body to catch up to the head.
This is a constant orientation of the dancer’s head and eyes in order to enhance the dancer’s control and prevent the dancer getting dizzy during multiple turns.
Spotting is an essential skill to learn for any dancer in any discipline because it is the only way he or she can perform multiple turns without falling about looking drunk after doing only a few.
How To Teach Spotting To Your Dancers
There are many different ways and methods that teachers use to teach spotting to their dancers, and the best way is to start with the little ones by incorporating basic steps like skipping and galloping.
Get your dancers to gallop sideways with the right leg and look at the wall they are traveling towards. Then get them to do a half a turn to the right while keeping their head fixed on the same spot and keep galloping in the same direction with their head remaining on the same spot. Repeat this until the dancer reaches the end of the studio. This is an excellent and fun way to teach them half head spots.
Once your dancers have mastered the above you can let them to two gallops before changing direction.
Next, try doing skips turning half a turn at a time keeping the eyes fixed on the wall that they are travelling to. Very small dancers may find this confusing, and the next exercise will suit them better.
Next you can try sticking spots on the wall and let your little dancers place their hands on their shoulders and turn around keeping their eyes on the spot at all times. Keep changing direction so they can get used to going both ways.
Here’s A Spotting Game For You To Try
Once your students have gotten the hang of spotting, have one of your students stand at one end of the studio and hold their clenched hand out at eye level with the palm facing out. Students then take it in turns doing turning steps towards the student with the clenched palm. Once the dancer has made it halfway down the room, the person with the fist will hold up between one and five fingers and then close their hand again. When the dancer reaches the person he must tell them how many fingers were held out. If the student was not focussing, they will not see the correct number of fingers.
There are some tips to help your pupils get the perfect spotting action of the head while dancing.
- Keep the head level – don’t allow the head to tilt or the balance will suffer.
- Always look at the same spot and focus the eyes so you actually see the spot. This goes a long way in preventing dizzyness.
- Remember to hold onto that posture. It is important to tighten the abdomins, keep the weight forward and the back errect.
- Tie the hair back into a bun, or your bangs will hit you in the face each time you come around. Also the strands from your hair can cut your eyes, thus making turning at a speed dangerous.
- Don’t leave your head over your shoulder for too long, or the weight of your head will pull you off balance. Just leave your head so that it is turned a quarter before whipping it around again.
- Always practise your turns both ways.
- Watch that your dancers bring their heads right around to spot at the same place again. Often dancers don’t spot in the same place, and thus travel squew or fall over.
I hope that dance teachers can add these spotting tips to their dance teacher resources. Leave a comment below if you have anything to add. For more dance teacher resources, click here.