How to Practice Turns in Ballroom Dancing

How to Practice Turns in Ballroom Dancing

It makes all the difference to your popularity as a dancer in a dance class if you know how to make proper dance turns. Spinning is what women like the most about ballroom dancing; they love nothing more than a turn at the right time or a back spot turn while locked in their partner’s embrace.

So how to practice turns in ballroom dancing? Most beginners in dance classes turn or spin repeatedly without really understanding the mechanics of the movement. While they do get it right at times, they will never really be able to master the turn till they get coached out of the bad habits.

That’s why our instructors emphasize on the basics during the dance classes. To start off with, students are asked to step onto one foot and remain in balance for as long as possible. If they can stay balanced on a single foot, turning on it becomes so much easier.

To understand this, think of a line drawn from the center of your head down to your feet, separating the left and right halves of your body. To turn successfully one side should turn quicker than the other.

Think of your body as a door, the axis on which you turn is the door hinge and the opposite side of the body is the part of the door that moves. This side should move faster than the part of the body that’s connected to the hinge.

You will understand this concept better during your dance lessons. In a ballroom dancing, you will be trained to start the turn by rotating your base – hips and below. So if you want to turn to the left, step with the left foot, start the turn with it first. Then, turn the foot slightly to the left and lead into the turn – now allow the whole body to rotate.

This may seem complicated here, but you will learn the movement fast by visually following the instructors as they demonstrate it to you during your dance sessions.

Try to stay on the ball of the foot as far as possible. So as your weight is centered on the foot that is planted on the floor, you will be able to turn without tipping over.

Here’s what you should do to practice turning during ballroom dancing. Step forward onto the ball with the left foot, and turn the foot outwards as you do. Turn only slightly to the left using your hip and leg muscles – in other words, a quarter turn.

Now, can you stop and stay balanced on the left foot? Try to perform this action, at least 6 or 7 times in a row till you get it right. Practice both right and left turns with the left foot and repeat as often as you can. Increase the amount of the turns gradually in both directions, and gradually improve your balance. You will soon be able to turn with ease and with style. And when you do, that will make you feel really great about yourself!

At our studio we emphasize on spinning and turning as that is integral to ballroom dancing. Practice spinning and turning during your latin classes such as Salsa, Samba, Jive or Rumba classes as these styles often contain a lot of dancing apart. You’ll be able to enrich your routine and technique being able to solely control the turns which is a very important part of dancing.


First dance lessons Monterey Ca
* Free ballroom dance lesson is for residents of: Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, Seaside. Salinas CA and new students only.


How to Train Posture in Ballroom Dancing

One of the most important things you will learn  is the importance of posture while dancing. Most dancers find it challenging to master the stance required for ballroom dance and fail to get their arm positioning right when they first start learning ballroom dancing.

Dancers do understand why posture matters and do their best to use the right posture, but they don’t always get the right grounding. This is so because most people learn dance visually and try to copy the body positions used by other dancers or their instructors – but they don’t really understand what it truly means to have the right posture.

So what is posture, or frame as it is called in ballroom dance? Frame refers to the dancer’s body position – how she stands, how she holds her arms and how she connects with her partner. You will learn how to use the right frame in standart or latin.

Generally, the posture or frame is more important to traditional dance styles such as Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Quickstep and Viennese Waltz, than to Latin American dance forms such as Cha-Cha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble and Jive. Having the right frame will decide how you get rated in dance competitions – you may do the most flawless performance, but if you get the body posture wrong, judges are bound to cut points. When your posture is lopsided or sloppy, you will not be able to move together with your partner and be off your center of balance.

In our ballroom dancing classes you will be trained to maintain the right posture. Your classes will begin with the instructor telling about the basics. The correct posture involves four points of connection – a man’s left hand to the woman’s right hand, his right hand to her left lat, her left forearm to his right elbow and her left hand to his right bicep.

For the right posture, there should be a long line that stretches between your elbows. Keep your shoulders back and down. Upright posture makes all the difference, perfect it with a simple exercise.

Stand with your back against a wall, press yourself against the wall, press your feet, buttocks, calves, shoulders and head against the wall. Remain in this position. That’s the perfect posture. The idea is to stretch your abs, so that it feels like an elastic band.

Next, work on the resistance. Resistance makes all the difference to ballroom dancing. Both partners should resist against each other and not be limp. It is only when you resist, there will be a connection between yourself and your partner. You will be taught this in all dance classes.

Add a bit of resistance to your posture. For this, the guy sets the tone by applying only the slightest of pressures in the connected palm. The girl follows his lead by pushing back with the same pressure. The female partner has to be very precise here and not over-resist as that would put both out of balance and she cannot be led. And if she under resists, she can’t be led either. So in all ballroom dancing, we emphasize the importance of maintaining the right balance.

For this to work, the male partner’s right leg should go between the female partner’s legs. Both partners should stay in position and stay intertwined during the dance. The middle of the woman’s body should line up with the right side of the male partner’s body. The trick to ballroom dancing, as you will learn to figure out how to dance while maintaining this connection. It is your posture that brings everything together and ensures a flawless dance performance.

First dance lessons Monterey Ca
* Free ballroom dance lesson is for residents of: Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, Seaside. Salinas CA and new students only.