Dec
15
2013
THE SPIN SPOT: A NEW TYPE OF TRAINING TOOL
Written by Angela Pineda

ThespinspotHere at Dance Studios Web Design, we like to feature products from our readers, dance studios, trainers, etc. 

The Spin Spot ™ (Patent Pending) is a revolutionary new training tool for pirouettes. I have been asked what makes this apparatus better or different than the current turning training tool. The answer is: The Spin Spot leaves no stone unturned…pun intended! As the inventor of The Spin Spot, I feel it necessary to first give you a brief background of my experience and qualifications that ultimately lead to the creation of The Spin Spot. I am a dance educator with 37 years of studio and workshop teaching experience, and a 25 year dance competition adjudicator veteran. Over the years I started noticing an epidemic of students using improper preparations before pirouettes, and not executing a full releve’ during the turn. The heel would release from the floor before the turn ever began, or the dancer would out and out place the ball of their foot on the floor with the heel never engaging the floor at all to execute the releve’. This causes the dancer to either fall out of their turn due to not being able to find their center, or the dancer lowering the heel and causing a rocking motion of heel, ball, heel, ball to execute multiple turns. A competition judge cannot give the points for multiple turns if the dancer falls out of the turns or does not stay in full releve’ until the multiple turn series is complete. The only time the heel should lower to the floor is for fouette’ turns, and even then the dancer must raise back up to full releve’ from the fondue in order to execute the turn correctly. It took me a few years to discover what could be causing this issue. Poor training? Possibly. But, I noticed that this was also an issue with strong technical schools and ballet predominate studios. Therefore, I had to conclude that there was something else that was creating this nationwide anomaly.

One day a student of mine walked into my studio with a scoop shaped plastic board. She told me it was a turning board. I had seen these over the years, but never used one as a teaching tool and had only, at the time, seen turning boards made of wood, not plastic. I understood the wooden versions were expensive and only high budget ballet companies used them. Now, with the new design, they became financially attainable to the rest of the dance community. And the more popular they became, the more I began to see the deterioration of proper muscle memory, preparation, and technique for turns. I witnessed this in my own students who were using the turning board, and actually told them to stop using it. At this point I knew there had to be something better, and my mind went to work on creating an apparatus that could do what the turning board was designed to do, but without all the negative "side effects" it creates.

There are more aspects of my knowledge and history that are key contributors to the development of The Spin Spot. I have always been both artistic and highly analytical. In my school days I was an award winning mathematician and excelled at physics in college. I study and stay abreast of the physiological and medical advances that pertain directly to the dancer's body. As an accomplished cake artist (my other passion and profession), I use visual art, engineering skills and the principles of physics to bring "life" to my culinary creations. I often experience a battle between my heart and head as the artist wrestles with the science geek inside.
One day, while decorating a cake, I inadvertently, didn't set it on my turntable exactly center. I spun the turntable quickly and my icing border went flying off the side that was outer most off center. Right at that moment it hit me. A TURNTABLE! That is when the brainstorming really began. I knew that centripetal force is exact and unyielding. When turning, if you aren’t exactly center, and have everything in proper placement and alignment, you lose your balance. I immediately set out to create a turning training apparatus that makes certain the turn can only be executed when all is in the necessary placement. Soon I had a prototype and was testing it with dancers of various sizes and ability levels. I was thrilled with the results.

The Spin Spot assists in training a dancer to spot correctly, find their center, proper passe’ placement, proper core engagement, arm placement, promotes proper muscle memory, and a high releve’. The turning board only helps a dancer find their center and proper passe’ placement on a flat foot, thus leaving out many important components necessary to execute a proper pirouette.

The Spin Spot is essentially a turntable with an extremely low profile. It is less than half an inch off the floor. Because the apparatus spins in either direction, and has little resistance, the dancer must find their personal center with proper passé, core, and arm placement or the Spin Spot will slightly turn, thus not allowing the dancer to stay mounted. Training should be done on the flat foot first to focus on passé, core, and arms. Once the dancer attains proper placement the Spin Spot will remain stationary so excellent spotting and turning can begin. Turning can be executed from a proper ballet or jazz preparation. Once the dancer can turn multiple times, and land properly using the flat foot method, they can then advance to using the full releve’ preparation. Here is where the Spin Spot truly shines as a training tool. When executing a releve’ prep the dancer must place the ball of their foot directly in the center of the Spin Spot, and then lower their heel to the floor. Like with the flat foot method, this can be done with a ballet or jazz preparation. In order to keep the Spin Spot from shifting, the dancer must execute a full releve’ from the prep position. When executing an actual pirouette, the dancer again must attain a full releve’ in order to stay mounted on the Spin Spot. And the last advantage of the Spin Spot ™ - due to the incline created from the surface of the Spin Spot ™ to the floor, with repetitive use of the releve’ preparation, the Achilles tendon, calf muscles, and the muscles behind the knee are strengthened. Dancers are building strength to properly execute multiple turns and hopefully avoid specific injuries that can occur when the dancer is physically weak in any area of the leg or foot.

I am very proud to say The Spin Spot ™ is hand crafted right here in the USA. It comes in an array of colors and can hold up to 500 lbs! To see this remarkable tool in action and/or place an order visit THE SPIN SPOT

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