Of the 24 (not counting the sacrum and coccyx), two vertebrae are fortunate enough to have names. The atlas (C01) and axis (C02) are two of the most important vertebrae in the spine. Without them, head and neck movement would be impossible and therefore dancers wouldn’t be able to spot!
The atlas and axis vertebrae are the two most superior bones in the vertebral column. They are part of the seven cervical vertebrae. The atlas is the top-most bone, sitting just below the skull; it is followed by the axis. Together, they support the skull, facilitate neck movement, and protect the spinal cord. (Think of them as BFFs—you won’t find one without the other.)
With all this in mind spotting has to happen with the rotation of the atlas around the axis. When executed properly the actual back of your neck will lengthen. Spotting will then generate from the base of the skull not the bottom of the neck.
Check out this article from DanceSpirit Magazine. Travis Wall shares his turning tips!
Travis Wall Turning Tips
Spot your way into March!!!!
As we all know spotting is very importand for performing all turns. To put it simply, without a good spot, you won’t be able to pirouette. So how do you know if you have a good spot?
A good spot is achieved through lots of practice. Some dancers can’t understand why they can’t do more than a single pirouette but fail to realize that their spot, or lack thereof, is the culprit. Spotting is the key to getting all the way around in a turn, and getting all the way around again and again. A quick turn of the head with fixated eyes helps your body stay balanced and keeps you from becoming dizzy.
Before you attempt your turn, pick out an object in front of you to focus your eyes on. If you are forced to spot a mirror, try sticking a small piece of blue tape on the mirror in front of you, at eye level.
Focus on your spot as you begin your turn. Keep your eyes focused on the spot as long as you can and then at the last second, snap your head around to allow your eyes to quickly relocate the spot. Remember to keep your head in perfect alignment with the rest of your body. Don’t forget to bring your shoulders and your hips around to be in perfect alignment as well.
Good Luck, let us know how it goes!!