Spot Turns, Switch Turns, Underarm Turns

Cha Cha Cha Switch Turns

The Cha Cha Switch Turns are Bronze Level figures. This online reference gives a detailed description of the different variation of the dance steps, including timing, footwork, alignment, and movement; a list of figures that may precede or follow the pattern; and videos providing instruction and demonstration of the figure, techniques and practice routines that include it.

Leader

Step Timing Movement
Turn Notes
1
2
RF fwd (after turning 1/4 to L on preceding "&") in line with LF
Then turn 1/2 to end with RF in the back on "&"
1/4 to L, step RF,
then 1/2 to L
This is Switch Turn to Left.
The turn is started at the end of preceding figure.

2
3
Transfer weight to LF

"3&", on "&": turn 1/4 to L
3 4 5
4 & 1
RF to side to chasse RLR
1/4 to L over 3-5
At end of "1": turn to R.
6
2
LF fwd (after 1/4 to R) in line with RF,
then turn 1/2 to end with LF in the back
1/4 to R, step LF,
then 1/2 to R
This is Switch Turn to Right.
The turn is started at the end of preceding figure.
7
3
Transfer weight to RF

on "&", turn 1/4 to R
8 9 10
4 & 1
LF to side to chasse LRL
1/4 to R over 3-5

Follower

Step Timing Movement
Turn Notes
1
2
LF fwd (after turning 1/4 to R on preceding "&") in line with RF
Then turn 1/2 to R to end with LF in the back on "&"
1/4 to R, step LF,
Then 1/2 to R on "&"
This is Switch Turn to Left (because Man is turning L)
End of preceding step on '&', fully transfer weight, turn 1/4 to R. Pay attention to foot position, LF turned out, not turned in (sometimes due to over turning to R on this step.)
Different from New Yorker: Fully commit weight on front foot before doing the half turn to R. (Difference in lead compared to New Yorker.)
Forward Walk Turn technique.
Body Design:  L arm in front; R arm could 1) on hip 2) wrap behind
2
3
Transfer weight on to RF

Coaches do it differently:
Some: before "3", there is a moment the R leg is bent, then straighten before stepping on floor.
Some: Keep R leg straight the whole time.
On "&", fully transfer weight, turn 1/4 to R (turn before stepping next step). Swivel technique.
One Variation is that on "&", body continue turning to maximum, then quick leg movement in 4&1.
3 4 5
4 & 1
LF to side chasse LRL
1/4 to R over 3-5
"4": it's a side step (after the turning to face partner), do not make it a forward step, then turn.
At end of this step, turn.
Body design: on "&" arm starts to rise on the side.
6
2
RF fwd (after 1/4 to L) in line with LF,
Then turn 1/2 to L ending with RF in the back
1/4 to L, then 1/2 to L
Switch Turn to Right (Man is turning to R)
The turn is started at the end of preceding figure.
L arm: just use ballet arms.
Body design: same but on opposite side:  R arm in front, L arm on hip or wrap behind.
7
3
Transfer weight to LF

on "&", turn 1/4 to L
8 9 10
4 & 1
RF to side chasse RLR
1/4 to L over 3-5
When followed by underarm turn or Alemana, L arm will be straight out to the side.

  • Start with Closed Position. No hold, or L to R or R to L hand hold.
  • Take required hold at the end. Stop or Switch Turn to L may end in Open Position, taking L to R hand hold at end of 2, and taking the Chasse forward leading Lady back.
  • Think about Body Design as part of the step. Practice it with arms.

Connecting Figures for Spot or Switch Turn to Right


Connecting Figures for Spot or Switch Turn to Left


Cha Cha Cha Spot Turns

  • Spot Turn is technically defined as "two forward steps and a Chasse to side danced solo by Man and/or Lady circling either to L or R".
  • Partner may dance Time Step, or Closed Basic. Or, Man and Lady can dance this together.
  • Variations:
    • A complete turn is made when Man and Lady start and end facing each other.
    • 7/8 turn is made when starting in Open PP or Open CPP and ending facing each other, or vice versa; or when starting in LSP or RSP and ending facing partner.
    • 3/4 turn is made when starting in Open PP and ending in Open CPP or vice verse.
  • Spot Turns are popular ending to New York, Hand to Hand, etc. and can be danced as Switch Turns.
To execute Spot Turns "by the book":
  • "2": LF diagonally fwd and across to Man's Left side, shoulder is parallel to Man (common mistake is to turn everything). Use CBMP to create torque. Use Forward Walk Turn action on "&" to do 1/2 turn. 2 variations for RF:
    • brush action: as we do rotation, close and collect on "&"
      • switch action: no collection on "&", just turn and replace weight on "3".
    • Finish with "tail bone" down.
  • "3": Get weight onto RF foot, do Swivel action to outside to turn and face partner. Do not rush to turn to face partner.
    • Don't skip over middle positions. Make sure weight is fully shifted to front of foot before swivel.
    • Pay special attention: the hip needs to have a connected movement with spine, so the hip shifts forward when spine moves forward. Head should not stick forward, butt back. There is no break at hip. Gets hip, rib cage, head on one vertical line.
    • Finish with tail bone down. so there is a good axis for swivel.
    • This is also built-in as part of the natural body action.
    • Don't try to turn early. Finish one step first before next step.
    • As right side pull through to swivel, inside edge of left foot tracks underneath. Track seamlessly, not pausing. (Advanced dancers can choose to pause for accent - conscious decision. For basic actions, just track smoothly through.)
  • "4&1": LF side chasse.
Connecting Figures are the same as Switch Turns.

Cha Cha Cha Underarm Turns

Underarm Turn to Left (Lady's Left)

This can start in Closed Position or Open CPP. L to R hand hold.

From Closed Position:
  • Man does 1-5 step of Closed Basic, while leading Lady to do a Switch Turn turning to her L by raising his L arm and circling counter clockwise.
From Open CPP:
  • Man does 1-5 step of Closed Basic, step 1 will be towards Lady's L side and turning 1/8 L over 3-5, then lead as above.
  • Man may turn 1/8 L on last step to end in Open PP (Lady turns 1/8 less).

Connecting Figures

Underarm Turn to Right (Lady's Right)

This starts in Closed Position. L to R hand hold.

From Closed Position:
  • Man does 6-10 step of Closed Basic, while leading Lady to do Switch Turn, turning to her R, by raising his L arm and circling clockwise.
    • Step 6: heel needs to be on the ground, straight back, not turn (which hints Alemena).
  • Man may turn 1/8 to R to end in Open CPP. Lady turns 1/8 Less.

Connecting Figures

Videos