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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Pirouettes: How do you stop?


hart

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I requested advice re: gaining some control when doing pirouettes several weeks ago, and it has been incredibly helpful, especially the advice about not throwing your arms and not turning your head too aggressively when spotting. I am proud to say that I am making progress. However, I am still struggling with knowing how to "land." I habitually overturn. I feel controlled and balanced when turning but seem to "miss my exit" every time. If I try to turn my head sooner, it just speeds up the rotation, making it harder to land. What muscles do you use to slow the rotation down? And, especially when "landing" in fifth position (back), what advice do you have for getting your foot from passe to fifth position smoothly?

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  • Administrators

Hart, you have to LIFT up in order to get the foot down to 5th or wherever it is going. The body must always resist up as you are trying to land from anything. And in the case of pirouette, the opposite shoulder is the key. If you are turning to the right, for instance, as you begin to close to 5th, pull back with the left shoulder. However, overturning can also be caused by too much force, and also spotting too far to the right for the right side turn. Move your spot more to the left, like between center and your right corner, not all the way to the corner. If you spot the corner of the room you will overturn every time.

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I'm not an adult--so feel free to remove this post, but I have struggled with this too. My teacher told me to work against the support leg, making it impossible to overturn. It takes a little bit of time to get used to the feeling but once you do it works :wink:

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Yes, Bananafeet, that is what one is doing when you pull back the opposite shoulder. :wink:

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  • 1 month later...

Just expressing some frustration right now. :thumbsup: When doing pirouettes, I feel like I cat that has climbed a tree but can't get back down. Still struggling with the "landing" in fifth.

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Maybe you shouldn't think about "stopping" the turn in 5th. Perhaps you need to think of the 5th as a movement as well, like you end your turn by shooting downwards into the floor. Plie aggressively.

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Guest gingembre

Sorry to disagree lampwick, I am sure it is a matter of wording only :P but I would suggest that a pirouette should not rush down into fifth but rather stop in retire and then finish in fifth. If your turn is controlled there should be a moment where you are still in balance BEFORE closing in fifth. That said, I would just add to hart to make sure you are using the right amount of force - there's a difference in how much "push" you are using for a single than for a triple! :shrug:

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Gingembre,

 

I think I have, at least to some degree, the control piece in that I can hang out in retire for a moment, ONCE I STOP! But, "around and around she goes, where she stops, nobody knows!" I have really worked hard to control the "push," but it seems like it doesn't take a whole lot to get me turning. I guess I am just going to have to keep working on it.

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Guest piccolo

hart, I don't think anyone has mentioned this but I think it's great that you are so on your leg that you can keep turning. Fabulous.

 

Now to address your landing issues, I have a couple of ideas. When doing a single pirouette, what happens when you initiate the landing when you're only 3/4 of the way around? I wonder if you anticipate the landing early, if you can land facing front.

 

Another thing to try, since you're on your leg, is this: Do a single pirouette, but instead of landing at all, after you've made your full rotation, stop in passe releve facing front. Pirouette and STAY! It is not easy but it might help with your understanding of how much force to put in a single pirouette. And, as Ms. Victoria pointed out, at the end of the turn really lift into the position. Grow into your passe releve balance.

 

Finally, another way to get a sense of how much force to put into different kinds of turns, do the old favorite: Four 1/4 turns to the right, Two 1/2 turns to the right, One single pirouette to the right, One double pirouette to the right. You can do these turns from fourth or fifth. (The pattern is: tendu side, close and plie, turn, land. 4 counts.)

 

Hopefully some of this is helpful.

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  • 1 month later...

So I started outside pirouettes from fourth to fifth like four months ago, and I am proud to say that I have finally managed to land my first outside pirouette in fifth without overshooting it :flowers: . I'm not saying it was pretty; my derriere looked like a peninsula (need to work on keeping my pelvis centered), but I am just proud to finally have landed one! Ms. Leigh, changing my spot a little bit really helps; it just took a really long time to get my body to cooperate. In the mirror, I spotted my ear instead of my eyes (which I can't see anyway) which seemed to help me stop my head, which, in turn, seemed to help me stop my body. Thank you so much for the advice!! We also had really small classes these last couple of classes, and my teacher was able to take more time helping us with our turning issues.

 

Anyway, I just wanted to share my excitement, and let the BalletAlert staff know how much I appreciate this forum.

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