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Guest Hattie

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I've never been great at pirouettes, but when I was younger I could do very nice singles, fairly nice doubles and pretty awful triples. Now I'm the grand old age of 21 and have taken a few years off, I'm finding them impossible. Having been to the doctor yesterday about dizziness and fainting, I was told I have very low blood pressure, and that my blood likes to pool in my legs (maybe THAT's why they look so chunky!). I was wondering if anyone else has the same problem, and how do you counteract it. I have been working on my spotting, and I can feel that it's okay, but I am still dizzy after any turn. If it's a pirouette ending in a nice plie with nothing after, then it's fine, but if there is another step straight away then I feel like I will fall over. I've tried deepening the plie to get more grounding, but I do think it's all in my head. Does anyone have any advice? Will I never be able to do good pirouettes?


Thanks xx

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I've not gotten much into pirouettes at all thus far. But I find it pretty funny when I'm not thinking about it and just do a double in the middle of my kitchen as pretty as you please. It is when I'm really trying that they are hard. LOL

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Yes, I have trouble with pirouttes too - from 5th! I can do them fine from 4th, and the boys' version (from 2nd) is no problem either - so why can I just not get my balance when I do them from 5th? Especially as that was the first version we learned?



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Guest marathongirl

I hate pirouettes too!! How appropriate this post it! Last night we had to do 8 in a row alternating direction (from fourth) (twice) and I think I maybe got one around and the rest were just unseemly and can't even be talked about. :( My problem is I seem to stick to the floor and can't get all the way around. Argh! My teacher has helped, it may have to do with how I am getting up on my toes, she had us practicing at the bar just going up in one movement, I think I anticiapte and go up to soon. (I don't know if that makes any sense). BUT I HATE PIROUETTES. I can't rememer hating them when I did them as a child way back when . . .


Hattie, did your doctor prescribe anything for the low blood pressure or tell you to do anything to help it?

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Everyone has trouble with pirouettes from time to time. What one defines as trouble may change with ability level, but it still lurks. I’ve seen a world class ballerina absolutely fail to do a double from 5th (well, she was doing them on pointe, but hopefully you get the idea). And that same failure occurred the next time through the combination also. If that can happen to someone who is world class, it is assured for we amateurs.


In reflecting on my own development, I believe I made my greatest progress in pirouettes when I just stopped caring. If I was having a bad pirouette day in practice, I just stopped doing them rather than continuing to repeat them, usually magnifying the problem and increasing my frustration. If it were in class, I just chalked it up to a bad pirouette day and let it go at that. Over time (years not days), those bad pirouette days got further apart. They never ceased, however.

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I think that "stopping caring" (or tricking ourselves into thinking we don't care, which is one of the secrets of kitchen pirouettes) is the key here. Also, I sometimes try to recapture that very childlike sensation of whirling about by just whirling about in the studio sometimes - in that gap between barre & centre when I'm not putting on pointe shoes with everyone else, or when I decided I've stretched enough. Just try a bit of whirling around - it's fun! :(:blushing:



(But sometimes you probably couldn't tell the difference between me mucking around and me doing pirouettes ....)

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I think I need to deconstruct my pirouettes and do each part individually. That would probably help a lot. And getting used to whirling around so the dizziness doesn't get to me so much.


Marathongirl- my GP didn't give me any advice (inner London doctors, eh?!). I might go and see a specialist because my pressure drops a lot when I stand up, hence blackouts. And fainting isn't ever a good thing. I guess I've got used to the blackouts, but sometimes they happen at really inopportune times. I also have a hard time giving blood, as my veins are really tiny and no blood wants to come out!


Sorry for going a bit offtopic there!

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Oooh, no, not off topic at all, if your dizziness is part of the problem for you in pirouettes. But it really sounds like your doctor should be advising you, & would not be doing his/her job properly if they didn't help you with this. Try posting on the Nutrition & Health forum to get advice about what questions you need to ask your doctor - no-one can diagnose you virtually, but they can help with advice about what to ask about. Being able to ask the right questions and raise the right topics seems to be crucial when dealing with those 9 minute NHS appointments!

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Dizziness is such a pain!--Best of luck getting it figured out!


On the topic of pirouettes, I always do my best pirouettes after having been on short breaks (or of course in the kitchen!). When I come back from a week off, clean doubles and the occasional triple are no problem at all, but then my pirouettes just seem to get worse and worse untill the next break and subsequent return to class. Come to think of it, the same thing happens with my extensions. As one generally hopes to improve in class, you can imagine this backwards progression is a bit frustrating. Hopefully the cycle will break at some point!


But never fear Hattie, eventually, I'm sure, pirouette apperances will start surprising you and become ever more frequent. :-P

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:: Knock Knock ::

Former pro dancer here...


A suggestion, if I may -


I always found 2 things more important than anything else where pirouettes are concerned:

1. The plie in the preparation

2. The headspot


If both of those elements are secure and sound, you can usually (USUALLY, mind you) overcome any other problems, like a spaghetti middle, or less-than-adequate releve.


If you're doing consecutive turns from 5th, try concentrating on clearly passing through the "sous-sous" as you bring the working foot back down towards the 5th for the plie into the next turn. I found that really helps solidify each turn. Making the descent into the fifth position important and taking lots of care to do it correctly (or the descent into any other plie, for that matter) really helps "ground" the pirouettes so that each one takes off from a very secure place.


Another way to think of it is, if given 4 singles from 5th position:

Instead of thinking "4 singles," think " ONE single, 4 times"


Just something to try.


Good luck.


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Don't laugh, but I swear that if I watch a video of a really good turner before I actually go into the class, I find that I can get cleaner doubles and triples in (on flat, that is).


Yes, it's silly, but try it. Look for someone who has really good technique, watch them do the preparation and the turns and try to concentrate on having that image in your brain while you are turning. For me, the image that works is the shoulders down, long neck and square back image.


Weird, I know, but give it a try!

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