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BarreTalk

Pirouettes a' la Seconde

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BarreTalk

In class this week the girls were learning linked fouette pirouettes. As the resident male, I worked on pirouettes a la seconde. Can anyone help me break this down?

 

My teacher started me working at the barre, holding my right leg in a steady position, while hopping the other leg between flat (plie') and releve'. She said its important to move the heel of the standing leg forward each time it lands (which actually moves all of you forward).

 

In the center I was thrilled to be able to do any of these and was able to get 1/4 turn around on each hop. However, I understand the goal is one revolution per hop, so was wondering how to increase the rotation. Also, what do you do with your arms while all this is going on?

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lampwick

*knock knock*

 

There was a Pointe magazine article called "Turns in Second: Expert Advice on the fine points of turning in second" where Wilhelm Burmann gives some tips for this.

 

Pointe magazine article

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Mel Johnson

Thank you for that, lampwick, but there are TWO types of pirouettes that men do which are grandes pirouettes à la seconde.. and I wonder which is meant here. There is the pirouette in second position which can be done as a single or multiples in one relevé, or there's a grande pirouette sautillé, which since hops are mentioned, could be meant here. They are rather different things. BarreTalk, which did you have in mind?

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BarreTalk
There are TWO types of pirouettes that men do which are grandes pirouettes à la seconde.. and I wonder which is meant here.  There is the pirouette in second position which can be done as a single or multiples in one relevé, or there's a grande pirouette sautillé, which since hops are mentioned, could be meant here.  They are rather different things.  BarreTalk, which did you have in mind?

 

I was thinking of the turn which is done in multiples (en dehor) and if done right creates loud applause :ermm::angry::blink::shrug:

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Mel Johnson

That's both of them! :shrug: Do you do a whole lot of little hops on your supporting leg in demi-plié and then relevé into a continuing turn, or just relevé repeatedly, doing, ideally, one revolution on the supporting foot.

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dancersteven

Grande Pirouettes a la Seconde (both types, with hops, and with releve)

 

#1: Don't worry about the height of the working leg, keeping your shoulders and hips square is more important

 

#2: Keep your arms in a solid second position. Like a pole in the arms of a tightrope walker, your arms out to the side will help you balance.

 

#3: Point your working foot. It looks pretty.

 

#4: To increase the amount of revolution, stay on releve longer, and take a little bit more force from the plie when you start. This is #4 because it is less important than the others!

 

Those are my big things to remember, there is of course more to it than that, but IMO, these are enough to think about while you get started!

 

S.

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BarreTalk
That's both of them!  :)  Do you do a whole lot of little hops on your supporting leg in demi-plié and then relevé into a continuing turn, or just relevé repeatedly, doing, ideally, one revolution on the supporting foot.

 

I think the goal is your second option: one revolution per releve'

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Mel Johnson

Ah, OK, now we're getting somewhere.

 

These pirouettes are done by both men and women. At best, they should be done with the leg at waist level, and as previously noted, with the working foot well-pointed. As with so many things that are done with an extended leg, the supported and working legs must still be working against one another to achieve rotation of the thigh at the hipjoint, except now you're turning in addition to everything else. You start easy when you learn these, proceeding from quarter-turns to half-turns, to an entire revolution, just as you may have first learned regular pirouettes en dehors. The odd thing, once you've learned how to do them, is that as you increase their speed, a sort of gyroscope effect takes place, and the turn gets easier! But that's for later!

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Dance_Scholar_London

This article was quite helpful. Are they always done at 90 degree, or is it desirable to go higher if one has the physical ability and strength?

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Mel Johnson

You can do them demi-en l'air to start with, and when you've got them right, you can take them just a bit above waist-level, if you like. It's a comfort thing.

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Dance_Scholar_London

Is it just a strength issue then? My working leg seems to move with every hop which brings me off balance :-( Shall I try to keep it low and maybe get more steady? I can hold a second at the barre and in the center quite long without wobbling but in combination with a turn I loose the strength of keeping my leg in the air. Is this a strength problem?

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Mel Johnson

Note the cautions in the article about Burmann's pirouettes à la seconde. The chest knows a distinct tendency to sink while doing this step. Don't let it do that. Also note his caution against "popping" onto relevé! At no time do the toes leave the floor, even as a slide.

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Dance_Scholar_London

I have a tendency to lean backwards so I am not sure if the sinking chest does ever apply to me. Or can I lean backwards and sink into my chest at the same time? :)

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Mel Johnson

Oh, yes, that can happen! Just let the shoulders start to creep forward. You'll see that you can actually lean back to an astonishing degree if the shoulders are not kept squared.

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BarreTalk
You start easy ... proceeding from quarter-turns to half-turns, to an entire revolution, just as you may have first learned regular pirouettes en dehors.  The odd thing, once you've learned how to do them, is that as you increase their speed, a sort of gyroscope effect takes place, and the turn gets easier!

 

Last night, I had two chances to practice, once at the barre, then a bit later in the center. I got the qyroscope thing going, with turns from 1/2 to 3/4 of the way around. Since I was just going until it seemed like I needed another boost, the amount of turn varied. Is that a bad thing? It was quite strange finding my spot and then realizing what direction I was facing. :shrug:

 

Next question: once you get going, what's the elegant way to stop? :wink:

 

(gee, isn't discussing technique more fun than talking about tights and shoes? :) Thanks to Mel, Lampwick, and dancer Steven)

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