I’m back with the last entry into my 3-part mini spotting series. Cartwheels can often be one of the trickier skills to master when starting out. Dancers need strength and confidence, as well as good coordination to perform a technically sound cartwheel, which takes lots of practice! Once dancers have mastered a 2 handed cartwheel (preferably on both legs!), they can begin to work towards a one-handed cartwheel. Luckily the spotting technique is the same for both!
1) Position yourself kneeling or standing on the same side as the dancer’s tendu. Your close arm should be in line with their hip with the far arm preparing to catch their second hip.
2) As the dancer transfers weight into their hands, support the first hip and catch the second hip stopping the dancer in the middle split section.
3) Adjust technique using verbal ques i.e. stretch feet, straighten legs, look through arms.
4) Allow the dancer to come out of the cartwheel independently, watching that they don’t tip forward or back.
5) If dancers are practicing for a one-handed cartwheel, have them swing the arm that is not going to touch the floor down and back. This will help them to prepare for more advanced skills like flying cartwheels and aerials in the future.
Things to be looking for in a technically sound cartwheel are:
Tendu devant starting position with the arms stretched at shoulder height, core engaged, looking forwards.
The cartwheel needs to travel in a straight line so getting the hands in line with the foot in tendu is very important.
Look through the arms not down at the floor to keep the alignment.
A nice big split with straight legs, stretch feet and pointed toes
Recovering quickly and through a demi pliè into tendu à la seconde.