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Turn Technique in One Short Lesson

Free Video Instruction
Turn Technique in
One Short Lesson

Windows Media
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It’s terribly frustrating trying to decipher written descriptions of turns and turn technique. For example, here is a description of the popular spiral turn as printed in a competition rule book, “Any progressive turn by a contestant that after having prepped the turn in one direction, then passing the back foot forward to open fifth position, rotates the body in the opposite direction of the forward foot one full revolution to step with the other foot forward in open fifth position.”

What the heck does this mean and what does it look like? No wonder folks avoid turning to books to try to learn how to dance. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth far more. For the above turn, a six second video clip can better describe the action than an entire paragraph of words.

Watch our short video and you’ll learn about ten types of turns in less than five minutes. The turns discussed include: 1) pivot turns, 2) chaine turns, 3) spiral turns, 4) swing and sway turns, 5) heel turns, 6) spin turns, 7) platform (pencil) turns, 8) paddle turns, 9) twist turns, 10) Monterey turns, and 11) tuck turns.

Definitions of terms described in this video

Pivot turns - The pivot turn is a progressive turn that effects half of a rotation with each step. These can be chained together to produce a series of half turns. In the pivot turn, the feet stay oriented in extended third dance position. While turning in this fashion, the thighs should stay close together in a scissors-like fashion. It’s important to avoid spreading your legs to a wide second position during the turns.

Chaine Turns - The chaine turn is also a progressive turn that effects a full rotation for every two steps taken. The turn begins with a forward step taken to extended third dance position. Next, bring the back foot forward while turning one-quarter of a turn, landing in first dance position (feet closed). Without stepping, change weight as you rotate another three-quarters of a turn to complete the full 360-degree rotation. Step forward to extended third dance position with the original foot. Thus the turn is one-quarter, then three-quarters.

Spiral turn - It’s easier to show it (see video) than to describe it.

Spin turn - Also called platform turn or pencil turn. It’s a stationary turn on one foot with the other foot in un-weighted first position.

Fan spin - It’s a stationary turn on one foot with the other foot in un-weighted second position.

Paddle turn - Also called jazz pivots. The paddle turn is a stationary turn that rotates around one predominantly weighted and centralized foot using the second foot to push off or paddle around the stationary foot.

Twist turn - This should probably be called “untwist turn.” One leg is hooked behind the other or crossed in front of the other, resulting in the feet being in a locked position. The turn is made so as to untwist.

Pirouette turn - A pirouette is at least one full turn on one foot with the other foot in a raised position.

Other turns - The video shows several other turns, including Monterey turns and tuck turns.

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