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Another pirouette question


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Reading Jaanas post and also Buglady's (in the buddy board about the Richmond intensive) made me think of my own far from satisfying pirouettes.


My problem is that there are two ways for me... I "pop" up in a passe and hold it

or I turn without reaching the passé stage until into 1/4 of the turn.


reading that buglady hears the teachers voice saying "don't try to turn, the passé will make the turn" (or something similar) made me realise that I don't know how to turn in a passé - I just stand there.


Is there any good way to "think"? Because I realise that physically you have to take off for the turn and not just pop up to a passé, and I guess that the key with the take off is to find your passé fast enough preferrably in the first 1/8 of the turn. But how do I work on my mind?


I'm thinking of tips of "lifting with your hamstrings when doing a developpé to the front" kind.

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Susanne, for this particular problem you might try thinking of starting the pirouette by leading with the knee of the back leg (for en dehors turns only). That will open the thigh to your best rotation and also help in coordinating the turn with the relevé. :rolleyes:

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Victoria, your pirouetting smiley is obviously helped by an unusually strong releve! :rolleyes:

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I can tell you what helped me, but obviously they are things that address what I was doing wrong. Your issues may be different.


I had a bad habit of not plie-ing enough which caused me to sort of hop onto releve with a jerk. Right off the bat I was off balance. Danile had us practice doing what she called a "juicy" plie and rising smoothly to a releve. I was reminded a number of times that my plies were shallow to non-existent. I think it was because pirouettes make me nervous and when I get tense, I can't plie. So I worked hard on just doing deep demi-plie to releve as quickly and smoothly as I could.

My next bad habit was a very sloppy passe. I almost always get my leg high enough, but sometimes my foot "floats" as the teacher said. That is, it never makes contact with my standing leg.

The last piece of the puzzle for me was a good turnout of the knee in passe. Our instructor had us practice just coming up to a good position without the turn everyday many times. Even during pirouette combinations she emphasized that you can't have a good turn if you have a sloppy position, so if your turns seem off in class, don't be afraid to go back to hitting the position without the turn until you feel solid. When I did a lot of these, I kept checking and noticing that often my knee was almost pointing straight ahead. I was concentrating on placing my foot properly and not dangling it out in space, and neglecting to hold a decent turnout.

When I went back to my first class back home, I just tried to remember to do a good plie to a smooth releve, be concious of actual contact between the standing leg and the toes of the passe leg, and keeping my knee turned out to the same degree that it had been when still on the floor.


The Kirov won't be calling any time soon, but it was a quantum leap for me!

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That was a great post with many useful ideas! In fact, I think I'm going to print it out and try to make not only my mind but also my muscles to memorize it!


Ms Leigh the tip with the knee leading was great!

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I was observing very keenly these past two years in the majors program the various turning ability of my fellow, younger students. There is one young woman who appears born to turn, and the one thing I noticed about her turn is that she GLUES that foot into place at the passe and simply will not let it come off even if she seems about to lose the turn at some point. That determination is what seems to enable her to really achieve so many revolutions, so consistently. That foot goes up immediately and stays placed, no matter what. It's beautiful to watch that kind of focus and consistency.

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Ah pirouettes



I have to agree -- opening that working knee, and attaching the working foot to the standing knee certainly make a difference for ME. I am NOT a turner.... But I can turn better on my bad standing leg than on my good one because for some reason, on that leg, the working knee just drops sideways, as I come up and the foot attaches -- if I remember to lift my head, I can get a triple!! (Not often, but it's happened lately).


My teacher Sally emphasizes dropping the knee sideways to do passe -- it certainly does work for me< the knee turns out BEFORE it comes up, and it comes up because it bends so much, but the thigh doesn't lift it at all -- which relaxes it and keeps the big muscles from pulling you back, and there you are TURNED_OUT to the max.


A combination she gives a lot is (from fifth croise) swivel-passe quickly to fourth-croise ("and FOURTH!")-- Which is a quarter turn already as you passe -- and pirouette from there. If I do the first passes in that relaxed dropped-sideways manner, the turn is PRETTY likely to come off.

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