Forum: Ballet / Ballet - Adult Dancers

Spotting - Will I ever learn it/do I have to?
By silverflameca
On Tue Oct 01, 2013 02:09 AM

I have difficulties with spotting. I became dizzy and sick in class recently when trying to force myself to spot. Even turning around while standing in one spot and practising whipping my head around was making me feel terrible. The teacher had wanted everyone to focus on spotting for that particular lesson and I couldn't get away with my usual technique of not spotting.

Normally I just let myself turn while focusing on other bits of technique (my arm position, my turnout, etc, there's much to work on!) and do not worry about spotting; I normally feel fine or only a little dizzy, and typically the teacher is also focused on correcting other things and doesn't worry so much about spotting.

I suspect part of the issue is that I began learning to figure skate before I started dancing, and I do not spot and hardly ever get dizzy during my skating spins.

As an adult dancer, do I need to pick up spotting for ballet? Is it a fundamental part of technique to help with turns or is it more about preventing dizziness? Is it more difficult to learn correctly as an adult or is it just for me because of skating?
Any tips for how to get better at this? One tip I had from my teacher that day was to try picking a spot higher up, but that just made things much worse for me.

11 Replies to Spotting - Will I ever learn it/do I have to?

re: Spotting - Will I ever learn it/do I have to?
By Serendipity42Premium member
On Tue Oct 01, 2013 03:46 AM
Yes, you have to learn it.

Will you ever learn it? Yes.

To what degree? Depends honestly on your age.

I have problems with spotting now that I am a female of a certain age, whereas I had NO trouble as a young dancer.

Keep at it. It'll come, at least to allow you to do up to maybe a triple, if not more.
re: Spotting - Will I ever learn it/do I have to?
By neptune1bond
On Tue Oct 01, 2013 05:00 AM
It depends on your reasons for dancing. If you are trying to be a professional, or at least reach that level then yes, you do need to learn to spot and do it very precisely. No one will ever take you seriously in the dance world if you do not learn to spot. It also, with practice, will help you with other aspects of your turn like balance, control, and being able to stop precisely where you intend without over-shooting or under-shooting your turn. The dizziness will pass as your body adjusts to the new coordination and sensations associated with spotting. But your body will never adjust unless you are forcing yourself to do it every time and not just when your teacher is making you. If you do want to improve, then you should trust people more knowledgeable than yourself and I assume you are taking from your teacher because you have some level of trust in his/her expertise.

On the other hand, if you aren't too concerned with how good you get, then you technically don't have to do anything that you don't want to. If you are JUST dancing for fun and do not care about the level of achievement and spotting makes dance not fun for you, then don't do it. It then just defeats your main reason for dancing. (Although I personally think that dance is only fun when you are improving and headed towards a goal of excellence, but that's just me and you don't have to live by my ideals.) Remember that, in the end, you are paying a teacher for a service, and if he/she is not helping you achieve your personal goals of fun-ness, then you have no obligation to do what he/she tells you. He/she is your employee.
re: Spotting - Will I ever learn it/do I have to?
By Guyenne
On Wed Oct 02, 2013 12:01 PM
It really does depend on both your goals and your capabilities. I've always been terrible at spotting due to the way my eyesight is, especially while wearing my glasses, but I can do most double turns. I also can usually manage a chain of turns across the floor. However, I'm dreadful at long sequences where you need to stay mostly still like fouettes, or anything over a double.

Some things you could try: quarter and half turns while spotting doing either pirouettes or chaines, spinning on a wheeled desk chair or turn board, and looking for a class that focuses on turns - these are most often at non-ballet focused studios in my experiences and may be labeled as jumps/turns.

I don't know enough about figure skating turns to compare the technique, sorry.
re: Spotting - Will I ever learn it/do I have to?
By theresemarie
On Wed Oct 02, 2013 04:46 PM
It takes the time to get the hang of it. I'm 22 and have danced since like forever. I still have issues with spotting. Remember to focus your eyes on one spot. I tend to only spot with my head and not my eyes.
re: Spotting - Will I ever learn it/do I have to?
By toroandbruinmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:01 PM
I have the opposite problem. I tend to spot with my eyes and not my head. This, too, may have come from figure skating when I was a child. I wasn't especially good at it but I did not get dizzy spinning.

Much later in life I talked with a friend who used to compete as the male half of a couple until his partner was severely injured (in a car accident). They would do a trick where he would go into a spin and she would skate toward him. At the last minute she would jump toward him, he'd put out his arm and catch her, and carry her around in the spin with him. Even though he was spinning he had no trouble seeing her coming! So his eyes and brain were spotting even though his head was not doing the ballet whip-around.

In ballet, though, I think you need your head to whip as a sort of physical counter-balance to the rest of your body in order to keep your body in the right rhythm.
re: Spotting - Will I ever learn it/do I have to?
By greenpumpkinmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Oct 03, 2013 02:16 PM
Spotting is an integral part of ballet technique. Yes, you need to learn how to do it. Doesn't matter what your goals are. The whole point of learning ballet is to make progress on mastering the technique.
re: Spotting - Will I ever learn it/do I have to?
By Dancerat50member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Oct 10, 2013 02:40 PM
I personnally thik it is an age thing. I swear since I turned 50, I cannot do simple piques in a diagonal line without getting dizzy. Spotting doesn't make a difference in how dizzy I get. Do any of the 50+ dancers agree with me or am I just odd?
re: Spotting - Will I ever learn it/do I have to?
By Serendipity42Premium member
On Thu Oct 10, 2013 07:33 PM
Most definitely agree with you. I read in some medical thing that the fluid in our ears dries as we age, so that affects things like balance. For us, the spotting is probably part of the things we lose....
re: Spotting - Will I ever learn it/do I have to?
By toroandbruinmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Fri Oct 11, 2013 09:20 PM
Edited by toroandbruin (202876) on 2013-10-11 21:21:07
If you are older and have balance problems, do try the Epley maneuver.
www.dance.net . . .

Can't hurt, might help.
re: Spotting - Will I ever learn it/do I have to?
By RazzleDazzleMan
On Tue Nov 19, 2013 03:36 PM
Try sitting in a spinning office chair and spot a spot while spinning in the chair, that helped me!
re: Spotting - Will I ever learn it/do I have to?
By Ballet_Brit
On Sun Oct 21, 2018 11:53 AM
Ooooooobhh...I can SO RELATE TO YOU!!! I feel VERY dizzy and nauseous after doing even two or three turns. An instructor/internet friend has said to me that your brain will eventually get used to the motion of turning, but it hasn’t so far. I do keep trying though and do wish I had some better advice for you..

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