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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Foot placement


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I have been taught that for pique tours endedans, the foot is placed in retire derriere and for pique tours endehors, it's retire devant. (My current studio teaches "mainly Cecchetti with a little Russian influence", if that matters...) I know that some teach it with the foot at the side of the knee. Is this one of those teacher preference things, both being correct? What about pique tours endedans with a beat? I had learned to beat front then back, so that the foot ends up derriere, last night I was told that that is incorrect.

So now I'm a bit confused. I had been taught that, usually, the foot is devant in endehors tours and derriere in endedans tours. The teacher from last night thinks my previous teacher didn't know what she was talking about. This may be true of both of them. Last night's teacher told me that this makes no sense since "the foot goes in back in pique turns and they are endehors turns". And when I think about it, I don't know that I've ever done a pirouette (retire or sur le coup de pied) with the foot derriere.

Is there some sort of rule or guideline regarding foot placement in turns or is it completely at the discretion of the teacher/choreographer?

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That pirouette position, with the tip of the toe at the exact side of the knee is primarily Russian, and is called "pirouette tire-bouchon" (corkscrew). Pirouettes done with a beat of the foot sur le genou are, of course, possible, but are more like choreographic variations of the basic step and not a commonly used device in a regular class. As a choreographic variation, the teacher/ballet master must specify how the beat is to be done. There is no rule of which I am aware.

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