If you do 360 turns on a step you are NOT creative!

 I have been teaching a lot of step masterclasses which I love doing.  However there was one very worrying trend that I noticed in my step masterclass that caused me to have a bit of a diva moment in one recent class! Read on……

So I am putting my routine together and in the routine was a good old fashioned basic over the step, which I put in as a bit of a break from the other, more complex stuff.  Well as I am teaching it and getting the group to go over the routine, I noticed that some of my old “advanced” steppers were doing some sort of 360° turn as they are going over the step. 

 

Now in the big scheme of things with credit crunch, the new coalition government, and the return of Big Brother 48, this may not seem a major thing.  But I must admit it really hacked me off, and it is not the first time I have seen it.

This seems to have been a very recent addition to certain presenter’s choreography routines, and I have always wondered why.  I mean I would like to think that I am known for my step choreography.  I would have to ask you, when is the last time that you saw GOOD (and I mean GOOD) step presenters have a  360° Rudulph Nureyev turn over such a narrow platform.  I would bet my rapidly increasing overdraft that the answer is never.

So the diva moment came, when I stopped teaching, told all of my old steppers to not even think of doing that in my class again and if any of the instructors that were in the room encouraged that type of movement in a bid to be creative then they obviously lack creativity to think of other ways to make their routines interesting! Plus it looks rubbish (in my opinion)!

 

Although I maybe went a bit OTT in my criticism I did mean every word.  I was lucky enough to teach A level dance for a year and learnt that there were over 16 ways to change a basic movement, and turning is only one……..ONE! So I do have a real problem when I see classes and masterclasses, where the only creativity is to add a spin, or if we are lucky, a double spin. Whooooooooo! I would also go as far as to say that encouraging these dangerous, unnecessary movements on the step is partly the reason why certain members are choosing pre choreographed alternatives

As you can tell I am passionate about the art of creating freestyle choreography.  I just hope that the message will slowly get though that you can be as creative as you want, using the right teaching methods, without risking your knee joint (which is a hinge joint, not a ball and socket joint), and without encouraging your clients to be ballet dancers on step. For those of you that teach step, your challenge is to creative a routine which has no full turns in, and think of other ways to change your choreography.  Good luck!

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  • Paul Thorne

    Hi Mate

    I miss your diva moments lol…

    I agree with you 100%

    It’s a massive issue over here in Singapore – a lot of the instructors basically choreograph their classes as a whole series of turns – don’t mention rhythm, that’s a dirty word lol… The members are so used to turning up and literally spinning and turning for an hour, when someone like me turns up with my balls changes etc etc, they will take it and turn it and end up a) facing the wrong direction, b) on the wrong lead leg, c) on the wrong side of the step or d) all of the above! VERY FRUSTRATING!!!

    It’s also been a debate in regard to a certain pre-choreographed program too… you have one turn, you then say a triple turn is the advanced option… Not, it’s not, if they can do one turn, a triple turn is just more of the same, right?

    Paul 🙂

  • http://fitnesstrainingdownloads.com admin

    Hey Paul, thanks for your comments, thoughtful as always. Glad you are doing well on the other side of the world. Do me a favour and press the like button above and share this article. I really want to get a discussion going on this.

    Linx

  • Stepper

    You knob! Get a life.. You Sound like a whining child… Boo hoo… Lalala..

    If u hve fab choreo give it without thundering it down someone’s throat…get a life…

  • http://fitnesstrainingdownloads.com admin

    Hey Amber, as I believe in free speech I have appoved this comment, although I don’t think I deserve to be called a knob! Anyway you are missing the point. Spins and turns are fine if in moderation, the problem arises if the class is made up of loads of turns and spins. That is NOT fab choreography, just someone who can’t think of anything else to do so puts a spin or double spin in. It adds nothing to the intensity of the class and I am sorry doing a full 360 spin over the step (not across it) is dangerous to the vast majority of people that do step classes. Maybe I have touched a raw nerve………but thanks for contributing to the discussion!

  • ER

    Hey …
    Like you said you dont have to shoe horn in a series of turns or spins to make a good routine….but I hold my hand up….cause I do find myself changing bits of an instructors “new routine”…(but vvvsamey choregraphy)…its almost like a challenge for me to think of some replacements moves but will join existing chory at the nxt foot strike…

    In my head…..the changes I do, give the routine some umph!…
    Whats more, in the following wks class….I will do it again but will think of different replacement moves….(only cause I dont remember what I did in the previous wk).

    Instructors give me something creative…not hum drum, not a cut and paste of a presenters routine….challenge yourself and you will challenge your class participants..

  • http://www.biancakarel.com Biancan Karel

    Wow how disrespectfull of participants to add turns to the instructors choreography! They should do a course and start teaching themselves if they know better haha!
    360 turns, okay, but not in 1 or 2 counts, never did it and never needed to, although I’m able to. It’s like you say Linx, it has nothing to do with creativity and a lot to do with putting unnecessary stress and risks on our participants knees and ankles. Screw them up good once and life will not be the same again, that is not why we are in the business.
    It is because stepinstructors got way out of control teaching too complex choreo’s year’s ago (often without the right breakdows) that we now have so little stepclasses left on the schedules here in Holland. They killed freestyle, it’s all pre-choreography now, and I so understand the participants. Let us freestyle instructors take up the challenge to start teaching accessible step- and other freestyle classes again, in which everyone can enjoy themselves. It would be so much more fun!

    I respect that you take the effort to write about it Linx, cause we all know there’s not many instructors as good as you are and you don’t need to.

    Bianca

  • http://www.nogymrequired.co.uk Helen Ttofa

    I agree with you Lincoln, some classes have so many turns and then they pitch it up to a hundred miles an hour and then wonder why people are falling over in their classes. Isn’t the idea that we all get a workout and go home being able to have actually achieved all of the choreography or am I in the minority, I know so many instructors that actually ‘brag’ when their classes can’t get their routines!!!!!

  • http://fitnesstrainingdownloads.com admin

    Hey Helen

    Thanks for the comment, and yes I have also heard instructors saying that the hallmark of a good masterclass is when the particiapnts can’t get it. I am definately thinking that they lost the message of why we are in the job in the first place!

  • http://fitnesstrainingdownloads.com admin

    Hey Bianca, there really is not any more I can add to that. Thanks for taking the time to contribute to the discussion. I continue to write about topics like these because like you I am passionate about it and want to belive that there will always be a place for creative freestyle choreography……if done right!

  • http://fitnesstrainingdownloads.com admin

    Hey Elaine, although I hear what you are saying, I can say that you have never put additional turns in during my masterclasses, not that I have seen anyway, so I haven’t got a problem with that. I suppose as an instructor yourself, if you are happy with your participants doing that in your sessions then, that’s all well and good, but I would always think of the people behind the spinny whinnies. How are they feel ing about seeing half the people doing act 3 of swan lake while they are struggling to keep up! If you have taught the progression fine but if not I feel they should wait until the progression has been added in. I actually used to change the end product when I saw someone adding what they thought was going to be the end product in, just to remind them who was the instructor!

    Thanks for the post

    Linx

  • GaryD

    Go for it Linx… After your time in this industry and the sessions you have taught, and not only in the UK, then why not have your say?
    I agree with a lot of the comments above…why add extra moves before what is coming, how do you know that is what is even coming? and a two footed spin on a narrow platform??? Well yes I can do it but why would I, I could rant on but hey think Bianca and you have more than covered it…
    G

  • http://fitnesstrainingdownloads.com admin

    Hey Gary, Thanks for the comment and best of luck with your new venture. If you want to do an interview telling people what the product is and how it can help them then please let me know.

    Linx

  • jo

    Well Done Linx!! About time someone stood up for the dying breed!!! As an instructor i find in increasingly frustrating when i go to other classes and it’s spin city! and only the ‘front row’ can sort of do it….. what ever happened to teaching a class that was achieveable, creative and fun. i think it’s time to stop showboating and get back to what we were trained to do before freestyle step becomes a distant memory!

  • http://jamienortonfitness.com Jamie

    When I read your article it initially took me back a few years to a class that taught the 360 spin over the step, I thought hey ho, know way am I doing this, my knees are extremely important but I think sometimes people don’t look at the anatomical view but the ‘I wanna do that’ view instead, and I too believe that after the time you have spent in the industry (not dissimilar to me) along with your position topics such as these need addressing whether others agree or not.

    Jamie

  • shashi kanth

    correct linx,i know thats reason freestyle dying i feel, too complicated, too boring ,only first line does and others watch,

  • Tina

    Just glad to know other Instructors have Diva Hissy fit moments. had my first ever this week after teaching for over 20 years!!!

  • Anonymous

    it comes to us all Tina, trust me!!

  • Anonymous

    it comes to us all Tina, trust me!!

  • Claireaber

    Fairplay your writing skills brighten my day Linx. Factual, interesting and witty. When are you visiting Wales?

  • Anonymous

    Hi

    I am coming in November to Abadere, which should be fun! Thanks for the nice comments

  • Klavington

    Great article Linx. Don’t teach step anymore due to my back. But, I can picture the moment! Waiting for an accident to happen!! OUCH GOES MY KNEES!

  • Karen Austin

    I totally agrree! I hate it when your class participants do that as every basic you do becomes a reverse turn or like you said 360! I find it alot sometimes when i go to certain presatations every thing is turning and in head it feels like the instructor is stuck for an idea so thinks i know lets put in a turn! But what gets me is the class can get excited and woop and woo because we have turned!
    May be i am just grumpy! ha

  • Positivefitnessuk

    Hi lyndon, firstly anyone who calls somebody else a k—b just about sums up their own mentality!  how rude and ignorant.  Im with you – I have been teaching freestyle step for nearly 25 years and still love it – i teach creative routines but they are always safe and i emphasise the importance of doing a movement that is safe – especially at the end of the class when you are tired.  I always show an easier step to allow for not as confident or tired clients to attempt.  I recently had a client doing the jazz step (which i had broken down and offered easy level) but she still fell off the step and fractured her wrist – I was mortifiede!!  she is now back but less confident – I would never never never do a 360 turn!!!  keep up the good work Sally

  • Hsibbs

    Oh!,  although I never change or add to an instructors routine (just rude),  I do admit to liking a turn (though I never whooped).  I have always found turns on the step using curls a little unstable, and turns where you end up stepping off the narrow end particularly ‘dangerous’.  I do like a turn which ends with a mambo,  or stomp as this seems to stop you quite nicely. Surely a reverse turn is ok??
    I think I am guilty of the crime you describe, using turns to add a bit of interest.  So you’ll have to let me know the other 15 ways to add progression……………………
     
    Lincoln,  I love your classes, and you have been helpful to me personally with good advice, time, encouragement, and moves, but I can’t say I will stop using turns, though I certainly hope I never include a dangerous one, (turns, not spins).  So, this time I can’t 100% agree with your article,  but I LOVE reading them,  and hope you appreciate my participation in the discussion.