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Ballet Talk for Dancers

triple pirouettes


Guest Megan Leigh

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Guest Megan Leigh

In my ballet class today we were working on triple pirouettes, and I didn’t feel like I had enough momentum to get around…and when I did, I felt like I was going to fall backwards. Any advice on what I could be doing wrong? :angry:

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I bet you flinched when it felt like you weren't going to make it, and that's what threw you backward. Remember, NO FEAR!

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My first suggestion is to ask your teacher also since your teacher is the one who can see you.

 

Many times pirouettes are thrown off with too much force from the upper body. Try to equalize the force from the lower body and the upper body. Remember to turn out the supporting leg and hip in opposition to the direction of the turn in the prepartion. At the same time, use your shoulders well. The supporting shoulder should be strongly back in the preparation while the working arm reaches foward in the prepartion. Where are you asked to keep your weight in the preparation? Deepen your demi plie feeling this opposition and also lower the shoulder blades downward to connect with the lower back. Strongly rise upward, pushing equally from both heels as the working leg takes a well lifted retire.

 

As for falling back...keep your body over your supporting leg on the rise to demi-pointe/pointe. Out of interest, how have you been asked to rise upward?

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Here is one trick that has worked for me. Falling backwards was ALWAYS my problem on multiple turns. One day when I wasn't even getting decent doubles on pointe, my friend held her hands up in front of her chest for me to spot, and BAM, triple. Out of nowhere. We realized that spotting her hands, at her chest level, was lowering my spot just enough that I was forced to come forwards on my leg instead of leaning back.

 

So yeah... for me at least, taking your spot just a little bit lower - and spotting something really concrete, and really seeing it as you go around - can help take care of the dreaded lean-back syndrome. :angry:

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Not 17-22, but still a student. Feel free to delete if necessary.

 

I'm not going to try and give any true technical advice on fixing your problem because I still have problems with multiple turns. The only thing I thought I'd mention was a tip (for a lack of a better word) my teacher gave me several years ago for just anything in ballet in general. Imagine the bit of leotard just under your chest and that bit which falls in line with your hips are snapped together. By thinking of that, I usually get much better results as it gives me an idea of how to keep my ribs in to prevent falling backwards. Now, if I could just remember to do that before every turn.

 

It seems to help with balances too, but I'm guessing that's because one wouldn't be sticking out their ribs and therefore throwing their weight backwards or out of alignment.

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... and BAM, triple. Out of nowhere. We realized that spotting her hands, at her chest level, was lowering my spot just enough that I was forced to come forwards on my leg instead of leaning back.

Actually this suggestion is one of those that helps to make the dancer feel more secure and does indeed work. Unfortunately it is not one that give the audience the artistic expression of the movement pirouette. Pirouettes/ turning movements are to spot in distance slightly above eye level. This helps the audience to be involved in the movement, not make the movement an exercise like sit ups. Ballet dancers are always also challenged by the demands of artistic expression, not just mechanics.

"Out of interest, how have you been asked to rise upward?"

Megan Leigh, the question has to do with the shifting of weight upward. When you rise, do you rise to your toes (the ball of the foot or pointe) or do you spring under, upward and slightly forward so that your toes come under your heel, ankle, knee, thigh, and hip? There are different ways to approach the rise. Check with your teacher to see which one is preferable in the technique that is taught in your school. This very specific mechanic can effect the outcome of the turn.

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