How to Spin Properly
Spinning takes training, time, education, mental determination, and LOTS of practice.
When you spin you must have the following:
1) Have and Maintain a Positive Mental Attitude
2) Whip upper body, starting with your shoulders around as fast as possible.
3) Bend your knees slightly to ground yourself.
4) Stay on both balls of your feet.
5) Make sure your back is straight. Maintain a good posture.
6) Use both feet as you spin
7) Your Free arm needs to be in front of your chest, palm facing down.
8) Make sure you apply the L technique, Keeping the arm that the guy is holding firm and steady in an L-shape in front of your face.
9) Hold your own weight and balance and do not depend on the guy to hold you up.
Let’s talk about all this.
1) Maintain a Positive Mental Attitude
First and foremost, you’re never going to be able to spin, and spin well, if you think you can’t, or if you think it’s too hard. I’ve trained countless women who honestly thought they could never do spins by using these simple techniques. From the skinniest, to the most overweight, both men and women of any size can spin. It’s just a matter of proper training, and the right attitude. You must convince yourself in your mind FIRST that it actually is possible to spin, and spin very well. Remember, the object is to get yourself around, and complete the move. Keep the goal in mind, (which to some, is to actually be standing afterward!), and you’ll be able to do it. The gray-matter between your ears will get you around. Read on, and I will teach you the tricks and tips on how to spin fast and very controlled..
2) Whipping your shoulders around as fast as possible
It’s not your feet that spin you, it’s not your head, it’s not your arms, and it’s not your legs. It’s your SHOULDERS that gain the momentum. I learned this from my very good friend and instructor, Mr. Joe Cassini. When you turn your shoulders, the rest of your body follows, and stays more balanced during the spin.
3) Bending your knees
People, if you spin with straight legs, you’re going to tilt, tumble, and then crash like a great tree in a forest. When spinning on your own, or if a guy is spinning you, it is important to have a springy “bend-in-the knees, shock-absorbing”, type of posture like you’re about ready to squat in the bathroom (sorry to be so graphic, but I’m now sure you can picture EXACTLY what I’m trying to convey). This will lower your body weight to the floor, so you can be more “grounded” and stable during the spin. This must be done with correct posture, and a very straight back. Do not bend over! Maintaining this type of “pose” per se, is essential for balance and sold controlled spins.
4) Staying on both balls of your feet
Simple. If you’re doing multiple spins, you want your legs and feet TOGETHER. Do not cross your legs, or try to step over your feet — especially during a fast multiple spin. Crossing your feet will only tangle up your legs, and you’ll end up looking like a cow being roped in a rodeo. We all know where they end up! ON THE GROUND!
5) Maintaining a straight back (good posture)
having great posture not only looks good, but also is very essential in keeping balance and control during multiple spins. I wrote an entire article about posture several years ago. it’s still solid information, and has proven itself over and over again to be the fascinating, plain and simple truth. I still hand it out during my Ladies Styling Classes, so Read it!
6) Dragging your feet
The more you drag your feet, the more balance you’ll feel. If you’re closer to the ground, you won’t fall over. I train my ladies to drag their feet, even during basic and cross-body leads. I teach them to feel the balls of their feet dragging. Try it.
I learned this technique while at the Mayan in Los Angeles one night. The floor was so crowded with people, it was almost impossible to dance without crashing into someone. I kept stepping on dancers around me. I kept saying, “I’m sorry…, Oops! I’m sorry, oh gees, I’m really sorry..” over and over, to everyone around me, because I kept stepping on them! I finally got so frustrated, that I decided to not pick up my feet AT ALL the rest of the evening. I didn’t want everyone to hate me, so I just “stayed low”, and drug my feet the rest of the night.
Amazingly, the minute I started dragging the balls of my feet, my balance improved, and I could dance better! My partner complimented how I didn’t feel so heavy anymore, and said he felt like I was “holding my own weight” instead of hanging on him! I was in shock. I had actually found the secret to maintaining balance and excellent control on the dance floor.
I’ve been dragging my feet ever since, and my dancing has improved TREMENDOUSLY!
7) Free arm in front of your stomach, palm facing down
I learned this technique from my friend, and instructor, Josie Neglia. If you maintain your arm position in front of you, by your stomach, with your palm facing down, it will be as though your arm is on a table, maintaining more balance. DO NOT put your hand behind your back or on your hip during multiple spins. This looks AWFUL!!!
8) Keeping the arm the guy is holding firm like a rock and in an L-shape in front of your face
I learned this in New York a few years ago. Ladies, during multiple spins, and even during single, or double spins, if you keep your arm in front of your nose, and strong and sturdy like a rock, you’ll not only spin faster, but will not risk screwing up your shoulder or collar bone from poorly-executed spins from men (sorry guys, but some of you need to get some training not only on how to properly spin a woman, but how to stop her after her spins. Look up your local instructors in our City guides section, or order my Cool Moves© video series to get some ideas of how to spin, and stop a woman properly.
9) Don’t depend on the guy to hold you up
If he accidentally lets go of me during a multiple spin (due to sweaty palms, improper hold, or finger cramping), I’ll keep spinning as if he was there, and simply wait for him to pick me up again with his other hand if he wants. (I won’t stop spinning on purpose, just to stun him.. Gees, I’m such a ham!!)
Ladies, NEVER pull down on the guy’s hand or thumb to hold you up during a single or multiple spin. If you do this, he’ll never want to try it again! Don’t hang on to his hand for dear life. If he spins you, do everything I told you above — that includes holding your own weight. You can never, ever depend on a man to keep you in balance, control you, or hold you up out there. You must be able to do it on your own. This will put less pressure on the both of you.
Overall, remember that both of you are supposed to be having FUN dancing together. If you put stress on your partner in any way, dancing with you will not be an enjoyable experience. I’ve seen men pass up absolutely gorgeous women for the more homely-type, simply because they’re better, more stable dancers.
“Yea, she’s a knock-out, but can’t turn if you paid her. I’m sorry, but I’d rather dance with someone who CAN DANCE.”…men tell me. What does this mean? There’s actually HOPE for those of us with the not-so-knock-out figures and looks! I’ve seen it happen over and over again. Homely-looking women who try harder than anyone else to keep balanced and dance well. They work hard at their craft, and eventually end up dancing all night long! Meantime, their more beautiful sisters wait out along the sidelines, and end up dancing with the more amateur beer-drinking types. It’s a pity they don’t read Salsa web.
Face it, if you can’t dance well, you won’t get asked to dance much. That’s a fact.
Listen, YOU CAN BE OBESE, but if you know how to dance, you’ll be out on the dance floor ALL NIGHT LONG.
I’ve seen it happen, first-hand.
Ladies, it is your responsibility, no matter what level he is, to make your partner feel very comfortable spinning and dancing with you. It is your responsibility to make the both of you look fabulous out there. By applying the techniques I’ve stated above, you’ll be on your way to becoming a fabulous spinner.
By applying the techniques I’ve stated above,
you’ll be well on your way to becoming a FABULOUS spinner
Article By Edie, The Salsa Freak