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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Pirouettes and sickling


Guest Cecile

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I've found that all of a sudden I'm having a huge probelm during pirouettes with the leg in passe and that is that my foot is sickling horribly. I can get around easily enough, but of course that means nothing if I have this oddly bent foot ruining the line. I concentrate extremely hard on it but nothing I do seems to work. I've tried doing releves and pirouettes in coupe before our pirouette combinations to shape my feet, but nothing I do seems to help even though I concentrate incredibly hard on the foot. My teachers always comment on it (which shouldn't be a surprise because it's always a problem) and I can tell that they're losing patience. Any tips? I would really appreciate any help!

 

Ceci

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  • Administrators

Ceci, sickling in the pirouette position is usually due to the loss of rotation, which is usually due to lack of being up on your leg and centered. Sometimes it is overpointing, or leading up to the position with the toes. The best way to correct it is to stand in the position, get it right, then relevé into the position, over and over and over until it is right every time without having to fix it after it is there, then practice it with a quarter turn, then half, then single, etc. But you have to repeat it over and over. Remember, brain smart, body stupid! :D Seriously. It takes the body years of repetition to get some things. :D

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Also, it wouldn't surprise me at all to find that you might be using the supporting leg as a sort of fulcrum against which you are levering the working leg into a turned out position. Don't do that! :D

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Guest Ballet_Dancin_Freak

I know how you feel.

Last year, I seamed to be doing better on pirouettes then this year. I don't know whats wrong. I guess I'll have to keep working harder, and use the tips Mr. Johnson and Ms. Leigh gave.

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For a while, I used my supporting leg as a fulcrum like Mr. Johnson said, and I would lever my working leg off of it, which made it turn out, but the foot was sickled. I would also press my toes into the side of my knee instead of using my muscles to hold the leg there, which made it easy to sickle. I'm still trying to fix it, and it can be frustrating because I have to think about it all the time.

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Guest twinklehooves

Haha I have the same problem. My foots sickles just a wee bit...but you can always tell. What I do is my teacher will shout at me during the combo across the floor and so afterwards I examine my position and remember what my foot feels like in the correct position. And the I just keep visualizing it, remember what it feels like, andI make sure I releve and get that to correct position. Good luck!

:)

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Actually, the positioning of the foot, if one has a problem with sickling, should be thought about BEFORE you do the first pirouette! Every retiré or passé you do at the barre is a preparation for pirouettes. If you focus on being very sure that there is no sickle at the barre, then work on it more in the adagio or early combinations in the center, and THINK about it before you begin to turn, it will get corrected and become habit to do it right instead of having to fix it every class. :)

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Thank you very much for your help! I've been concentrating REALLY hard on my foot at the barre as well as in the center and making sure that I'm on balance. I think I'm seeing/feeling some improvement...maybe? :D I guess it really does come down to muscle memory, which of course means lots of repetition and lots of time. If only my brain were better at controlling my body!

 

Thanks again!!

Ceci

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