How Leads and Follows can Improve their Spins

Here are a couple of useful tips for improving spinning for both sides.

For this, let’s just admit that we all want to dance like professionals. They can do impressive variations of spin. However, they train every day with the same people. They have been taught how to create the variations.

We don’t, and we aren’t, but if you get the fundamentals right, you do look good. Which is really cool.

But if you get the spins wrong, this will cause a lot of unnecessary problems. Balance and timings being the victims here, both for leads and follows.


If you are getting this wrong, then this small part of the dance can have a large impact on the rest of it as you will both have to resettle. Taking a few seconds here and there, repeatedly throughout the dance to rebalance is time taken away from that masterpiece you’re aiming for.



Is this the end of the world, of course not, what we do is fun. Mistakes are common as we don’t practice like we are about to appear on Strictly. Anything that does go wrong is just giggled away.

However, a little knowledge goes a long way, and we all want secretly want to end up on Strictly one day, or is that just me?

So, let’s sort it out.

For the Leads

Imagine if you will, at the start of the spin, a massive drill piece comes through the floor through the foot of the follow.wooden-board-1337250__340

Now do that again without all the blood and screaming, people running about in panic, alarms going off. That sort of stuff, this is just for reference OK.

The drill bit spins at it rises to about six foot in the air, going straight up like it’s got laser tagging to keep its trajectory perfect. That, for all intense and purposes, is the centre of gravity for you to both work with.

The follows job is to have a foot. The Leads is to have a hand. So far so good.

The foot is at the bottom of the pole, the hand at the top.

For the lead you have two things, that’s it, get your hand in the right place and let it be used for counterbalance, so don’t grip.

The trick is that you have to spot their foot first, this shouldn’t be too hard as you are leading them into a spin, you know it’s coming so as you lead it, note where the foot is and work up from there.

So why do it this way and not just hold it above their head. Simple, this is an extra tip to work with to help give you time, that helps you be a better dancer. A fraction longer for you to be in the right place ready and primed for action.

The foot’s position is a constant, all their weight is on it, it isn’t going anywhere. So it makes it the perfect starting point to judge where your partner is going to be before they get there.

For the Follows.

Firstly, your frame. Spinning is a skill that has to be learnt, the better your frame, the quicker it is to learn. A basic lesson is Do Not Slouch. Think ballerina’s, whenever that go into a spin they pop up on their toes, back straight as can be. That isn’t all just for show.

ballet-1491191__340But we are not ballerinas, and we partner dance. But a valid point to take from them and use it for our benefit is one simple concept.

Take a deep breath as you walk into the spin to improve your posture making you stand taller.

Do not dismiss this as a whim of fancy. Athletes of every discipline use this technique to create the perfect form before movement all the time.

It will improve your stance without you having to think the process over. Chest comes up, shoulders back; your body is more stable, and your balance is easier to master (as a side note for all of you, this would also improve dips and drops for both sides as well.)

A very simple, useful tip.



And secondly, if the leads hand isn’t in the right place then put it there. Seriously, just do it. You may be having issues with your spinning and hadn’t realised why you’re OK with some dancers and not others; I would bet it is the leads positioning taking you off balance a lot of the time.
And there you have it, three very simple things to help improve the whole spinning situation.

Follows take a deep breath, take a step and try and line up your balance right. While you partner in crime helps out by putting their hand in the best place for you to do that.

Both take moments but can save you seconds, giving you all the time in the world. 🙂


Granted I have glossed over the whole E=MC2 stuff and centrifugal force but this is just a fun blog, so no need to get silly. 🙂

Get the basics right first and then muck about with the laws of physics. That’s my motto; It’s not the best motto ever but it’s still a work in progress.


If you have any simple tips for spinning, then please let us know, knowledge has power people so share the wealth.

If you want to check out the web site then please click here The Jivey Blues Blog

If you want to check out the Facebook page where there are Jive and Bluesy dance clips, then please click here Zorro the Dancer


2 thoughts on “How Leads and Follows can Improve their Spins

Add yours

  1. Interesting saying stay ‘up’ for spinning. That’s exactly how ballet dancers are taught, hold the core, shoulders down, and feel like you’re rising up. But in salsa we were taught to stay grounded and feeling the floor. Yes keep the core strong and leaders to have their hand in the right place, but they used the drill analogy saying ‘into the ground’.and keeping knees soft.

    Obviously things like rotation, balance, core and spotting are the same in each but the look of the dance will also reflect the type of spin technique.

    Liked by 1 person

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