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pulling forward into pirouettes

Paul Parish

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Starting this topic after reading a similar one in the young dancers forum....


I'm wondering if anybody else has had an experience like this. Maybe on a good day, when a good day comes, what you notice about why things are working is not what's in FACT making htings go well, it's just something you happened to notice. BUT...... I'm not a good turner, but I had such an exciting day today, I could turn!! (we need a brag board), and in particular I tried pulling forward into my turns and felt it working.


Miss Leigh very wisely told a teen-ager that you shouldn't need to pull forward into pirouettes, you should BE forward already. ANd indeed this is true generally speaking, certainly for pirouettes from 4th position.


But it was pulling forward into the turns I felt working for me today -- my good turns came at the end of class, in the turns we always do from fifth position (we regularly do 8 to the right and 8 to the left, at fouette speed, at the end of class). For these, my teacher in Berkeley emphasizes pulling "up and forward" into the pirouette, and that in consecutive turns you should come down to fifth PUTTING WEIGHT ON THE FRONT FOOT and spring up into passe, diminish the ribs, make your arms small, and PULL FORWARD into them.....


Rudi took a terrifyingly fast tempo for them today, REALLY fast, like the Lone Ranger fast, and I pulled forward into them and NAILED them (to the right -- the left was a different story, but I couldn't get forward enough).


I'm wondering -- Since in outside turns from fifth you're turning on the back foot, it makes sense to pull forward into them. Or maybe I was just having a good day -- that's for sure -- and on good days strange explanations seem to make sense.

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Paul, I think I may have mislead you with that statement on the other forum. I meant that the body weight must be in the front leg, but I was assuming that one knows one needs to always be forward in turns. Absolutely from 5th you have to use the weight going into that front leg! And from 4th you do move forward and up into the pirouette. I think maybe I was reacting to the term "pull", in that I don't quite equate that with moving the weight. I've probably confused this more! :shrug: Sorry!

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Thank you Ms. Leigh.


Actually, what I think I felt I was doing was lifting my sternum, but that that was pulling me up and forward into my arms -- or actually, OUT OF my arms, like my shoulder blades were dropping down and "I" was going up -- When turns work at all, they sure are exhilaraating....

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They do indeed, Paul! :( And yes, one really does kind of move into the arms in a way. Sometimes I use the image of a hoop, not too big, around the back muscles and out as far as the arms would be in a first (5th en avant) position. They need to relevé into the center of that hoop and not fall into the back of it. Doesn't always work, but it's something I try, and it works for some. :) I seem to have a bit more success when I can get them to feel their back muscles, and to understand that it is the torso that motivates, or creates the turn, and not the arms. When they can start to feel the back actually move the arms to create the circle of a pirouette it can usually start things happening in a more coordinated fashion, assuming of course that they already have the center of balance and the strength and all the other ingredients necessary for this complicated pie! :thumbsup:

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