Turning and Spotting

Using a spot or eye mark, while turning, is an essential technique dancers use while performing turns. A spot or eye mark is also important for any type of concentration in a balanced position such as an arabesque penche. The goal of spotting is to keep a constant position of your head and eyes, to the most possible extent, in order to improve the your control and to keep from getting dizzy while executing multiple turns. Spotting also gives any movement in a group a finished look.

While turning, spotting is executed by turning your body and head at different speeds. While your body turns smoothly at a somewhat constant speed, your head periodically turns much faster and then stops, so as to steady your gaze on a single location (the eye mark, or spot). You can sometimes focus on an actual visual spot if one is available, like a picture or even a mark on the wall in the studio, but if there is no object is available, you need to attempt to end each turn of your head to a constant location. Your spot could even be another dancer, in which case the spot may move.

Spotting has several advantages:

  • It prevents dizziness by providing a fixed focus for your eyes.
  • The fixed focus also helps you to control balance.
  • It helps you to control the direction of travel during traveling turns such as chaines and piques


To practice spotting:

  1. Turn slowly in place. Find an object in the distance to spot, such as a picture or a fixture on the wall. Some dancers prefer to use a piece of black tape or a sticky note.
  2. Place your hands on your hips or your shoulders and fix your eyes on the spot.
  3. Slowly begin turning to the right.
  4. Keep your head still and your eyes fixed on that spot as long as possible.
  5. Continue to turn your body.
  6. At the point when your head must turn, whip it around and immediately locate your spot.
  7. The whipping action should be so quick that your eyes see nothing but the spot during the rotation.
  8. With the eyes once again fixed on your spot,
  9. Allow the rest of your body to follow.
  10. Your eyes must lead your body in the turn.
  11. Complete the turn by returning to the original starting position.

If you spotted the turn correctly, you should feel steady and balanced.

If you are still getting dizzy and you are spotting remember that spotting has to do with timing and the focus of your eyes. A common problem is not looking at your spot long enough before you snap your head.

 If the turn comes in the piece of choreography on the count of 3:

  • You have to be still looking at your spot on the count of 2 &.
  • If you are spotting into the mirror, you will see your face on 2 & then your face on 3.
  • The turn continues, so you will be able to see most of your back in the mirror on 2 &.
  • Think of turning as “front-front” and not as a circle.

There are cases in choreography where spotting is deliberately avoided in certain types of turns. For example, adagio turns in which should have the look is of serenity and calmness, the quick movements of the head would disturb the gentle choreography. Turns in adagio include turns in arabesque or attitude positions, where a balance is required and the turn is done slowly.

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