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Spotting and Side-Leading Turns

Exercise #3 picks up where #2 left off, by incorporating the action of spotting with a simple half turn. In addition to spotting, you will also be learning how to commence turns with the right or left side leading. This will prepare you for more advanced types of turn, which we will be working on in future lessons.

Begin in first position (feet together), with the body and feet all aligned and pointing straight forward. Your head should be turned to the left as far as it can go, so that you are looking over your left shoulder. This exercise also takes place in 3 phases:

Phase 1:
Begin your turn by stepping sideways to the left while rotating the left leg and foot into a turned-out position in relationship to the body. The upper body will feel this as a side step, because you are moving laterally across the line of your shoulders. But at the same time, your foot and leg will feel it as a forward step, since they are pointing toward the direction of the step. Make sure that your weight is 100% over the left foot, and that your right foot remains pointing in place, without any pressure or weight.

Phase 2:
Pivot on your left foot exactly 1/4 turn to the left, while closing your right foot tightly in first position with your left foot. At the same time, turn your body exactly 1/2 turn to the left. When you finish this phase, your body and feet will once again be aligned to point the same direction, which happens to be the opposite direction from where you started.

Throughout the 1/2-turn, the head should remain focused on its original spot. The head will begin looking over the left shoulder and end looking over the right shoulder, but this is a result of the body turning underneath the head, not a result of the head turning! Remember... the head should remain fixed in space, and your focus should remin fixed on the spot.

Phase 3:
Without turning your body, turn your head from the right shoulder back to its original location over the left shoulder. You will now be looking at the opposite side of the room, and you can repeat this exercise, stepping to the new direction, but using the same foot and turning in the same direction.

Notes:
Phase 2 and 3 should not be taken at the same time. The point of this exercise is to learn how to turn with a different body speed and head speed, by using the full range of motion of the neck. If you turn the head and body at the same time, you defeat the purpose of the exercise.

Remember to practice this exercise in both directions. After turning to the left on the left foot a few times, do the same exercise turning to the right on the right foot with the same number of repetitions.

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