The double turn. First thing: it is not THAT complicated, what you will need to do is to practise but if you'll do that it'll work. Of course you need some proper instruction too, which I hope to give a bit with this text.

First of all, don’t forget some general principles for turning:

- you turn around an axe, can be your left of your right axe (line going through left or right part of your body). Make sure you know which axe you’re turning around. Make sure this axe is stable and stays stable.
- bend the knee of the leg you’re using to turn; the lower you’ll go, the lower your centre of gravity, the better your balance
- when you’re turning on your own, use the impulse coming from elbows and shoulders; make a “counter body movement” to prepare and then swing to the side you want to turn to; don’t make it that strong that you destabilize yourself
- the lower body should be very stable, if you have a good position (you’re like a pencil! Hence the name ‘pencil turn’) there isn’t much energy necessary to make you turn. Of course good shoes, a good floor can help. Remember: lower body is stable and standing up like a pencil. Be compact (like a pencil). The movement will come from above, hands, arms, shoulders.
- Spot! When you’re spotting you’re giving your body information about one point (the point you’re spotting at). This becomes a good point of reference for your body as it turns. Because of that your turning will become more stable too (because now your body knows where it is in space!).
- Another principle for turning would be … practise! Just do it regularly at home, on your own, on your socks, try half a turn and see if you’re in control. In the beginning this is the most important thing: be in control! Turn in a stable way, doesn’t matter if it’s just half a turn in the beginning. Don’t start right away to a double turn, that’s useless. When you’re practising and you get dizzy, stop. No need to do it for hours. Just a couple of turns every day will make you improve! The dizziness will disappear as your stability gets better, as you’re starting to spot better (and it’ll also go away just because your body gets used to turning).
- Work on your stability. Stability on itself is already important for turning well. Stand on one leg. Stand on one leg and bend the knee. The same thing but standing on your toes. Other leg. Both legs. Etcetera.
- The ‘momentum’ as they say, the movement comes out of the elbows and shoulders (certainly if you’re turning on your own), not so much out of the pushing off with your feet (as I said the lower body should be stable). Bring your elbows up and out on a horizontal line. The wider you’ll take them the more stability. Once your stability and general technique will be better you can bring them in, you’ll turn faster.
- You’re turning around an axe, around one foot. But that doesn’t mean that you have to lift the other foot. On the contrary, leave it down and close to your axe. It’ll help you for your balance. You can also use the ‘other foot’ to brake and to stop exactly where you wanted to stop.
- It is important that your mind knows exactly what your doing! I mean by that that you have to know ‘Ok, I want to make a single turn which means that my foot is going to be put down here. Or there.' If your goal is clear to you, it’s more probable that your body will execute just that.
- Relax! Even though there should be some tension in your body of course, don’t think this is something extraordinary you have to achieve! Relax, do it calmly, not too wild, in control.

The double (right side) turn: The same things come back from the principles that are listed above, once you’re good at a single turn, the double turn (and then triple) will come quite easily. We just have to work on a couple of things and also learn how to lead a double turn well.

Here we go: “the New York prep”. On 1 you step on the place, NOT back as usual. On 2 you don’t step but turn your right knee into your left kneehole, bringing your left leg in front of the right leg. Your weight is almost entirely on your right leg, that is bent. Your body is rotated to the left. Thighs together, body is compact. Find a very good balance on your right foot. Try first without partner, use the arm-elbow-shoulders-swing to give you the momentum to rotate. The idea is that you should be able to turn on your own. The job will then be much easier for the leader to make you do a double turn and if he’s not doing it right you’ll do a double turn anyway …

When do you turn? I said already what you do on 1&2. On 3 your body 'winds up'. On 4 the body 'unwinds': the movement starts from elbows and shoulders which makes you turn, on 5 you have finished a first turn. On 7 you’ve done the second one.
Now you can do two things. In the beginning it is probably better to use your ‘other foot’, in this case the left foot. So your left foot touches the floor on 5 and then again on 7. Make sure there are no strong accents, the left foot on the floor is only there to keep the turn going in one continuous movement. After a while you’ll see that is even easier not to place the left foot but just do a double turn only on one leg (the right one in this case). The left foot is kept close to the right and in slight contact with the floor (for your stability and to brake when you’re done). You’ll see that turning without placing your left foot is easier, but first you need the technical skills and the balance to do that.

Your upper body. Your right arm (double turn can be done with left arm too but we’ll start with right arm) is in a 90° hook and there is good tension in arm and the rest of your body. Now the momentum, the energy will come out of the leading arm of the leader. If you’re too relaxed in the arm, he’s just moving your arm, not the whole body. If you make sure you are a perfect pencil (compact, knee bent, counter body preparation, tension in arm and shoulder, good stability on the axe) then it’ll be easy for him to make you turn (twice and then even three times). Make sure that when you’re turning the arm hook stays in place (90°), as I said … compact! Make sure you spot as well, now it’s on your partner, that should be easier, you have a human being to concentrate on …

The leading. On 1 you bring her right arm down and to the left, on 2 you bring that same arm up and to the centre (the ladies’ arm is constantly in a 90° hook). You have placed her now in the ‘New York prep’ situation (also known as Santo Rico, from the people who ‘invented’ this technique). She’s holding your fingers, not to the other way around. To lead a turn it’s easy to offer just a finger or two, the middle ones as they are the strongest ones. The leader doesn’t step, instead takes a strong parallel position. On 4 the movement starts out of your arm. The lady has to face you on 5 and then again on 7. Very important principles: don’t be too rough in your leading (you might destabilize her instead of making her turn); make it a constant leading (without strong accents on 4&6 for instance), just a continuous turn; make a little circle on the ‘crown’ of the lady, that’s your turn. So no big movements, it has to be small and on the crown (just above her head) of the lady and a continuous leading.

Well, that’s about it … try! And try again. And talk to one another (leader and follower I mean), help one another.

Last thing: aren’t there other ways to do it? Other techniques than the Santo Rico (or New York prep)? Yes, of course there are many many other ways, this is just one that I like …

Possible ways to hold hands leading a double turn (there are others, this is a start)
Hand shake hold: classic.
Hand shake :first turn normal, second with pizza.
Double hand hold: right over left, there’ll be a wristbreaker.
With leader’s left hand.
First turn with left hand, second with right.
Open hand hold, holding two hands. Leading with left hand. You’ll have to let go of the right hand, and catch it back right way (she’ll be in hammerlock).

Carl


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