Monday, June 2, 2008

Is The Double Reverse Spin Really A Double Reverse Spin?

In ballroom dancing, the double reverse spin is a dance figure used often in the waltz and quickstep. The name double reverse spin is rather misleading as there is no double spin, neither is it danced twice. In this posting I will be talking about the double reverse spin as danced in the waltz

The late dance guru, Alex Moore MBE, in his oft-quoted book 'Ballroom Dancing' has this to say about the waltz double reverse spin - " This figure is rather misnamed as it is not a spin, nor is it necessary to dance it twice. The man does two steps and a 'toe pivot' while the lady does four steps. It should only be attempted by advanced dancers " (italics mine).

The double reverse spin is taught as part of the silver level syllabus of the ISTD. It is a difficult figure to dance for students who have basically learned dancing for a year or so and also for 'weak' dancers who do not use the correct techniques. Personally I feel it should only be taught at the gold level.

What makes the double reverse spin such a difficult figure to dance for the novice? The steps are as follows:- The man takes a step forward on his LF, places his RF to the side and then makes a turn or 'spin' to his L on the ball of his RF and closes LF to RF without weight (toe pivot). At the same time he has to maintain his balance and posture.

For the lady it is even tougher. She has to do a heel turn and continue turning to her L on the ball of her LF as her RF is moved to the side and slightly back. Still turning, she crosses LF in front of RF and finishes by turning slightly on the ball of her RF to complete the turn. The lady has four steps to dance while turning to her left, first on her right heel, then on the ball of her LF and finally on the ball of her RF in three beats of music.

The amount of turn may vary between 3/4 and a whole turn with a timing of 1,2 & 3. Advanced dancers often use the timing 1, 2, 3, & and like to follow with another double reverse spin when dancing this figure; a sort of 'double double reverse spin.'

The double reverse spin is a very beautiful figure when danced well but can look clumsy if not executed properly. What can be a lovely picture of two persons dancing together in perfect harmony can turn out to be an ugly picture of two persons wobbling out of sync!

The dance maestros Marcus and Karen Hilton MBE are masters in dancing the double reverse spin. You can see them using this figure very often in dance competitions and exhibition dances. In their video 'Champions Choice'; they showed what stuff champions are really made of by dancing flawlessly the double reverse spin not once, not twice but three times in quick succession across the dance floor. It was sheer artistry and poetry in motion!

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Joseph Lim said...

You mentioned the double reverse spin in the Waltz and Quickstep. It is also danced in the Foxtroot. Massimo (Massimo Giorgianni) did it in the Tango in the following order, fallaway, slip-pivot and double reverse spin.

Anonymous said...

double reverse spin is indeed confusing.. my understanding of this figure is that the lady is actually doing 2 types of reverse action. first action being the heel turn action and second being the lock. since reverse in ballroom refers to anything that is to the left, such action of the lady having 2 types of action that is to the left i think its appropriate that it is called double reverse. spin, because a spin action is done having commence facing LOD and ends same achieving a 360 degrees of turn to the left. put it together Double reverse spin is created.

Dancesport Malaysia said...

Yes, there is a turning action to the left but there is no spin action, per se. The man does a "toe pivot" while the lady does a heel turn to her left and continues turning to the left and then crosses her left foot in front of her right foot.