Do you fall or stumble out of spins regularly? end up facing the wrong way? get dizzy all the time? If so chances are you are among the majority of Salsa Dancers out there! Spinning is one of those elusive 'Holy Grail' skills of Salsa, one many wish to master but few actually do. I believe in part this is because many people place an over emphasis on the ability to spin with a great many rotations. In my opinion when it comes to spinning, QUALITY trumps QUANTITY. EVERY single time.
The most important thing to realise is that whatever issues you encounter doing one spin will be increasingly exaggerated by each additional spin you attempt. So, until you can manage one clean single rotation, you will almost never manage multiple clean rotations.
There is only one correct way to spin. WRONG! As with many things in Salsa there are many different techniques out there proposed by various Salsa Pro's, I recommend you try different ones until you find one that works for you. If you have a previous dance background try and draw on those skills you have learnt too.
Below we discuss some of the key components that can make or break the quality of your spins.
Many of us throughout our lives spend an awful lot of time slumped at a desks at school, university or work. Because of this our posture suffers. Posture is a key factor in maintaining balance, and is important not just for spinning, but dancing as a whole. You should imagine a thread running through your body and out of your head, imagine that an invisible hand is pulling that thread up, making you stand straight. Be aware that as soon as your head starts to bow, you shoulders will slump, your body will follow and your center of balance will now be off kilter, gravity will take care of the rest and pull you off center.
Along with driving round with your arms, your core is where a lot of the power in your spin can come from. So what is using your core all about? an over-simplified explanation would be to have your tummy pulled in, exhale to lower chest down towards the floor; (knees should also be relaxed, thighs together and shoulders back and down). For those who want to really understand how to use their core I would highly reccomend a class with knowledge female instructor with proper dance background such as Laucinda Roberts (Encuentro Latino, York).
Spotting can really help your spins. Its the process where you focus on a particular point and then as you spin the head whips round to that spot for each revolution, the head is the LAST part of your body to leave the position it is facing and the FIRST to arrive and face your 'spot'. Your spot if often your partner, but may be a specific point of focus in the room you are dancing in. Strobing and roaming club lights can seriously inhibit your ability to spot.
There are two schools of thought, one is that the spin should be powered solely from your core (i believe Frankie martinez is a big proponent of this), whereas others believe you should prepare for a spin by first twisting/winding the body in the opposing direction (in addition to using the core). Personally I think learning to spin without relying on having to twist first is a very useful skill to have and will allow you to respond better to more situations, however i think there is absolutely nothing wrong with a twist prep.
With all these things we have touched on, nothing is a replacement for taking correct, real life instruction with professionals. After that its simply practice, practice, and more practice!
and finally...just for a bit of fun... Terry working from 1 spin to 10!!