Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

To Hop or Not to Hop?


Recommended Posts

Just would like to bounce some ideas around...


We were doing pirouettes en dedans today. Halfway through the teacher shouted "Try for 2 pirouettes!!"


So I tried. And was about to crash down when my will power said, "Now Fish you ARE going to go around twice"


In trying to save my turn, I hopped and successfully went around again.


After I came down, I have this question in my head. I have already asked my teacher, but just want to know other people's opinion (not that I don't trust my teacher, but I'm just interested in everyone's views on this)


Here comes....


Is it better to get around, even if you hop, or is it better to come down when you realise it wasn't going to be clean?




Link to comment

Personally, I would rather do a clean single than a "dirty" double...but...I would never make any progress with that kind of attitude.


You have to go for the double in class...hops and all...that's how you learn - by making mistakes. If it were a performance situation (which for me will only be once a year at ADC) I would only do what I knew I was capable of doing cleanly - single...for now!


I want to know what your teacher said.......



Link to comment

In general, I think that coming down out of steps or "giving up" as it were...is probably not a good habit to get into. Because you certainly can't do that on stage during a performance:) "getting through" a problematic step...even if a bit "fudged"...doesn't break the flow of the choreography as much as hesitating or stopping outright.


That said, I think there's value in doing slow, controlled, pirouettes with no landing as an exercise sometimes to get "on your leg". I usually do a few singles to practice staying up in retire before I start working on my doubles and triples with nice landing during a combination. If I find that I'm particularly "off", I often revert back to singles and balances until I'm "on" (relatively....I'm never REALLY very "on", especially if I haven't gotten to class for a few days) he he....

Link to comment

David Howard said, "You must avoid hopping during pirouettes as you would coughing at the opera." Presumably he means that if allowed to happen regularly, hopping will become a bad habit. However, if it is an emergency situation (such as a performance) in which simply getting around is more important than idealized execution, that would be ok.


I think it's great that with the hop you were able to do a double pirouette--now you know what it feels like to go around twice. Next time, try doing it without hopping. :(

Link to comment

Well the teacher didn't hint at all while marking the enchainment that she would want us to try doubles, so I had like 4 counts from the finishing of the first time to prepare for the double.


It was one of those "Oops I just hopped!" moments - realisation that you've done it only after you've done it, sort of thing... (and together with "I went around twice and didn't fall!")


Well my teacher said I should try to get around even with hopping, but not consciously thinking that hopping is the "way out" - try not to but if it happens it happens. She did say that this is only for class situations though, never in a performance (thank god there's no doubles in any of our performance pieces anyway!)


I knew I read the coughing at opera comment somewhere! That's the reason I had this question really.


Thanks for the comments!


Link to comment
  • Administrators

Yes, the problem is in allowing the hopping to become a habit. If it happens every once in a while, and helps you get the feeling of doing more than one turn, okay, but don't rely on that hop! It can turn into a habit very quickly.

Link to comment
Guest ModernTeacher

I agree, hop if you need to but don't let it become a habit or muscle memory. Instead, use the hop to learn where you need to make your correction in your double pirouette.


For example, if your hop was to bring your supporting leg back under you because you were leaning away from your supporting leg, then you know that you need to be sure that your weight is distributed more over your supporting side when you try it again.


The hop is your body showing its intelligence in trying to save you from disaster - just listen carefully and it will tell you just where you need to be next time to get that double down solid. :-)

Link to comment

I started hopping in pirouette during ADC (nerves) and realized I was still doing it at class when I got back! How fast that habit forms.


I found that to correct the problem I let my head go around twice and my body only goes around 1/2 time, but I got rid of the hop. Now my standing leg stays straight. After the first time or two of not getting all the way around while keeping a straight leg, I am back to doubles fully with no hop.


I do agree with Hans' last remark. Now that you have the feeling of going around, do it without the hops. I used hops to get the timing and the feeling down a couple times. Then went one less and it was much cleaner! Doing one more than usual, even with hops, is a great way to improve your normal ones. At least for me. You just have to concentrate on the up, up, up and balance at the end (even for a split second).


Happy turning, my favorite thing.

Link to comment

"I found that to correct the problem I let my head go around twice and my body only goes around 1/2 time"


Erm, not being funny undertutu, but how does that work?! Sounds kind of uncomfortable... (I do genuinely want to understand the tip :devil:)

Link to comment

I’ve read contrary opinions about hopping on pirouettes. I do recall, as Hans mentioned, reading that David Howard counseled not ever hopping in a book I read. But I also recall another famous teacher counseling students in the same book not to worry about hopping.


As has been implied by others, I don’t think the question is specifically stated enough. Should you never ever hop for any reason whatsoever? No, that’s too extreme and possibly impossible anyway. Should you allow yourself to routinely hop? No, that’s too lax.


Personally, I think one needs to understand why one hops. It’s simply because the center of gravity isn’t right over the ball of the foot. Yea, that’s kinda obvious. The real question is why is that so and what might you do to lessen the distance between the center of gravity and axis from the ball of your foot. I think just realizing why helps as your body does try to adjust itself so to speak when you keep in mind the problem. Also helps to have a good teacher watch you and give his or her analysis and opinion. Then there is just a matter of the universal Ps—patience and practice.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...