How to avoid getting dizzy while turning.

The short answer is: Dance well, dance with good partners, dance often. Here are some longer answers:

Understand the Basic Turn which is the basis of all these turning dances. It takes one minute to learn the basic turn, and when you have it, you can turn easily. Being awkward at turning will certainly cause problems with equilibrium. Keep your right foot inside your partner's feet.

Good posture and hold are essential. Dance from your centre, not from your feet. Keep your steps small, and your feet under you. That means keep your feet close together. Small steps! Don't lean back; don't lean at all; keep your weight off your heels. Relax your neck, so that your nose and toes point in the same direction. Your eyes should be looking horizontal and forward, not up/down, sideways, or tilted. Be centred and balanced yourself. Then create a couple-balance with your partner. Have a gentle, relaxed, flexible, responsive, reciprocal connection that lets you dance together smoothly as one. Never rigid, tense, stiff, fixed, strong, forceful, etc., etc. Relax your hands, wrists, arms, and feet. Relax your neck, don't twist or tilt it, but look forward, naturally.

Let the Music support you. Fearful beginners may try to dance slower than the music, which will certainly disorient them.

Surge Forward. In the travelling turning dances, every time you step on the Right foot, you are facing forward in Line of Dance. This will always be at the same point in the music. Surge forward, at these points, rather than getting the feeling of aimlessly rotating. You and your partner will take turns in this surge, creating a nice see-saw pulse, with the music.

BTW, this musical surge is part of what makes Waltz *dance* music Waltz *dance* music. A lot of music in 3/4 time is not dancing music at all. It is a chore to dance. Dancing music makes you (want to) dance.

Dance like a Driver, not a Passenger. Do your share, provide your own impetus, don't be danced. Ladies: move yourself forward! Don't be dragged sideways or pushed backward! Drivers don't get car-sick, passengers often do.

Ladies, always move forward, never sideways or backward, unless you do so deliberately. Some men will hold a woman in "ballroom hold", and then push her sideways or backward, as they move forward. Some people even "teach" this! Both partners should move forward, naturally.

Do not try to "spot". Spotting is for stage dancers who spin rapidly by themselves. Couple dancers relax their necks, naturally looking forward, at their partner, who is in front of them as they turn together about their common centre.

Wear smooth-soled shoes. Leather soles are best. If your shoes stick to the floor, you will not be able to turn properly. This will make your dancing forced and awkward, rather than smooth and easy. Sticky shoes risk ankle, knee, hip, and back-pain, as well as disorientation.

Beginners' dizziness diminishes with experience, partly because of improved technique, and partly because the brain adjusts. So, dance more turning dances. You can also do turning exercises whenever you feel like it.

In a travelling turning dance (Waltz, Polka, Hambo, travelling Schottisch) you can travel in promenade hold, without turning.

In a non-travelling turning dance (Zwiefach, Mazurka, non-travelling Schottisch) you can turn as little as you want, or not at all!

In a travelling dance, faster traffic is outside, slower traffic is towards the centre.

If you are uncomfortable turning as much, let your partner know.

Physiological conditions and age may affect vertigo when turning.

"Sensory input from the vestibular organs is routed through the brainstem and then primarily processed in the cerebellum, the part of the brain responsible for balance and coordination. Vestibular input is processed along with visual input and proprioception (sensation of where your body parts are in three-dimensional space) to create a seamless sensation of where your body is and how it’s moving.

When these sensory streams conflict, that also causes vertigo or motion sickness. That is why you can get motion sick on a moving vehicle. Your visual and vestibular input don’t match. These sensations are ultimately experienced by the cortex."

"It's not useful for a ballet dancer to feel dizzy or off balance. Their brains adapt over years of training to suppress that input."

"Consequently, the signal going to the brain areas responsible for perception of dizziness in the cerebral cortex is reduced, making dancers resistant to feeling dizzy."

Deborah Bull, a former principal dancer with the Royal Ballet, who is now the executive director of the Cultural Institute at King's College, London, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "What's really interesting is what ballet dancers have done is refine and make precise the instruction to the brain so that actually the brain has shrunk. We don't need all those extra neurons."

[Presumably, it is useful for non-dancers "to feel dizzy or off balance", in order to avoid losing their balance and falling. The question arises: "Do (ballet) dancers fall more often than non-dancers, because of this brain atrophy?"]

-- Peter Renzland