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Pirouette prep in center

Guest prokofiev

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Guest prokofiev

OK, I've been working on pirouttes for a while now, with varying degrees of success (some days it seems L en dedans is great, other days I'm fine with R en dehors, some days fifth position seems like magic and others only fourth is working...) :wink:


But yesterday, I had an epiphany. :thumbsup: We'd been doing plie, retire, plie, piroutte kind of preparation combinations in center for a while, and yesterday we did BOURRES first. (Oops, two e's or one?) Anyway, I was just fine - felt pulled up, supported, centered, turned out, the whole thing. And darned if those pirouttes didn't just come out of nowhere! :P I even did doubles, to both sides! (only en dedans, I wasn't feeling THAT lucky...) :rolleyes: My poor teacher nearly fell over with surprise!


So here's the question: how do I bottle that exuberant bourre feeling? Any suggestions?



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I like a bouree preparation too :rolleyes: !


Maybe you were having luck with that because you weren't sitting in the preparation. Whenever I am tense before going into a turn, there's a tendency to over-think the preparation and sit in plie (my teacher calls it "laying an egg").


There's something helpful about starting from a releve, lifting into the plie, and pushing down into the turn. My teacher likes to give pirouette from a releve often, when she feels people are spending too long before taking the turn.

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I could be wrong, so moderators feel free to delete if so.


I have a hunch that your success had actually less to do with the bourrees and more to do with what happens when coming out of them into the preparation.


A lot of dancers tend to sit or sink in their preparations for turns. When coming out of bourrees (or a releve 4th) into a preparation, it has been my observation that dancers are more pulled up out of the hip sockets. Another thing that is typical in a tendue preparation is that the hips tip slightly forward when going into the plie. The bourree preparation tends to alleviate this as well.


I would focus on not sinking in your plie and keeping your hips upright. :rolleyes:




(Lampwick I didn't see your reply, I must have been typing while you posted)

Edited by ToThePointe
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I find that doing a high and tight releve' in fifth just before a piro gives amazing results. Since the Menfolk don't typically do many bourees, a releve gets you all pulled up.


A few crunches just after the barre helps me do multo multo piros.


Prok, congrats on the double, now do a triple! :rolleyes:

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Guest prokofiev

Aaahh, laying an egg... sinking... I get it. Actually, the hip thing isn't working in my releve fouth position preparation reliably yet, Lampwick, because we do that pretty regularly before pirouettes, but maybe now I'll start to 'get it'.


Yes, I did feel that "lifted" feeling in my hips you guys mention, and it's likely that I am laying eggs and too worried about shifting my weight and hitting a clean passe, and not "climbing" up to demi-pointe, to get the hips lifted :rolleyes: ... there's irony for you. Get the hips and the rest falls into place!


I like the image of "lifting" in plie and thinking "down" on the turn. I'll try it!


Now to transfer that yummy feeling to other preparations besides bourrees... :wink:

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The discussion illustrates what I think is a basic point, especially in regards to pirouettes. Namely, the source of a pirouette problem (or other steps for that matter) can often be found in the connecting step rather than in the pirouette itself. You see the problem in the pirouette, but the problem really starts well before the actual pirouette.

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I just had a little pirouette revelation last night as well. My singles were kind of spastic and I had too much power so I was attempting some doubles. Still too spastic. The instructor said "Open up your turn out in your leg in passe." BANG! Pirouettes worked! Even doubles!! So weird how when you actually do what the instructor says, and not just try but actually manage to get it right, the thing you were trying to do works so much better! Of course on the opposite side things didn't go quite as well. Heh but those couple turns I got down perfect made me feel pretty darn good.

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Changing preparations for pirouettes can be generally helpful simply by getting you to go into the turn in a different way.


Also, while you are concentrating on the "new" preparation, you spend less time agonzing about the turn just before you do it. As Lampwick said, this keeps you from over analyzing things.

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Guest prokofiev

Well, yesterday in class we went back to retire en releve, plie in fourth preparations... and the results went back to mediocre on my part. I think Garyecht nailed it - I'm doing something wrong there, and I suspect that it has something to do with where my upper body is in the plie in fourth. Should I be trying to keep my body centered between my legs for that plie, and then lead with my torso to get up to the pirouette, or do I keep the weight on the standing leg (future standing leg for the turn, that is) during the plie? I get get up into the pirouette OK, but I wimp out about 2/3rds of the way through the turn and get all jello-y. :innocent:

Edited by prokofiev
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Re where your weight should be in the fourth position plie, one of my teachers characterizes it 80/20 -- meaning most but not all of your weight on the front leg. That seems to work for me, better than the other two styles I've seen taught: 1. having the weight distributed equally (which I've found makes it hard to get up fully on the supporting leg for the actual turn); or 2. having just about all the weight on the front leg with and the back leg straight (I can't seem to get enough of a push up to propel the turn that way).


Good luck, I totally sympathize. I seem never to get all the elements -- the preparation, the spotting, the balance, etc. -- in playat the same time to do good pirouettes consistently. :innocent:

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Another thing about pirouettes is that some days we have our good days and others are not so good. Personally, I think it’s important to not let the not so good days get to you. Just leads to frustration and doing worse. There are so many possible things that can produce a bad pirouette that I think it’s hard to fix any one thing and have your pirouettes suddenly turn out great.


I also find it consoling when I hear a teacher I have say he would have his good and bad days and he said he turned pretty well and had a 20+ year professional career to boot. Also, I’ve seen many a professional fall off their pirouettes during class. They just happen to be making more turns when they fall off than we lesser ability folks.


I think we just have to be patient. It’s taken me a very long time, with periodic bouts of optimism and pessimism, to improve my pirouettes. And, though improvement has been slow, there has been definite improvement over the years.

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