Spotting is perhaps one of the most challenging concepts for young dancers to grasp and often to teach as well. Without it, however, we are at a standstill in terms of improving and progressing turning ability so taking the time to really focus on this skill with your students in crucial during training. Below are my favorite exercise to help dancers really hone in on the skill and improve quickly and efficiently.
Part I: Begin with dancers simply twisting and walking to the right (a quarter turn) while keeping head focused on the mirror. Walk back to neutral. Repeat left. Repeat 4-8 times slowly so dancer gets used to keeping their eyes fixed on the focal point in front of them.
Part II: Progress this same exercise by having the dancer perform the same thing walking, exepct now facing the back, (a half turn) still keeping the eyes and head to the front. Come back to front. Repeat left. Repeat 4-8 times slowly.
Part III: Progress the exercise with a full rotation to the front. Slowly demonstrate how the head comes around at the last moment to the front to the exact same focal point. Repeat left. Repeat 4-8 times.
Part IV: Spot turns: Begin in a jazz fourth preparation. Perform a quarter turn, relevé to the right, spotting right in front of them. Repeat the prep and quarter turn relevé to the back. Then to the side and back to the front. Repeat the quarter turn relevés going left. Progress to half-turns and then full pirouettes. Once the dancers are comfortable add multiple turns for the full rotations.
See you in the dance studio,