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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Finger pirouettes?


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So in rehearsal on Saturday I was told to do a finger pirouette with my partner. I've never done these before, and had a quick 30 second lesson on them, but 2 and 2 are not coming together in my mind.


It's the usual prep - en pointe, holding one of his fingers above my head, other arm in second, hand in hand. Developpe croise devant, rond de jambe to seconde, and into retire for the pirouette. I was told that he's supposed to 'stir' me to get me to turn? I'm so not getting it!


I'm guessing that I need to somehow lock my arm/shoulder for this to work? Any pointers would be very welcomed!

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You need to use your left arm and push off of his hand, at the same time you are pushing up with your top arm as he is pushing down against you. The force is gathered from the push off and the fouetté action of the leg. No "stirring" should be needed and really cannot be done unless you push off and then let go of his finger so that he has two hands to work with, however, I find that it never looks good when one can see the male dancer actually turning the female dancer. She needs to do her own turn, remain centered and focused, and his hands are there to help keep her centered and to stop her in the right place. If the turn remains a finger turn, in that you do not let go, then I don't understand how any "stirring" could be done.

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Yes, I am pushing off with the left hand, and this way can very reasonably do a double.


The instructing meant stirring with his finger - as in not using his hands on my waist to get me around, but using a slight motion with his hand above my head to get me around more times?




Somehow, it doesn't seem right to me. I've seen these done with many revolutions, but I always thought it was more the girl than the guy?



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Don't like the "stirring" idea at all. :D I don't see any way to do that without it being VERY obvious.

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That's exactly what I thought. And it just throws me off.


We get to rehearse this bit on our own, and as long as it looks okay won't be drilled on it - so....


I need a strong push off his hand, and a good fouette action. Left hand comes into first, right hand holding his finger, whilst pushing up, his right hand pushing down?


Do I have that right?


Regarding the right arm - how stationary does it need to be? Meaning, that for this to work, do I need to lock my shoulder? Is there a certain angle that might be best?


I know it's hard to correct/give advice without seeing us - I'll ask another teacher later this week as well.


Many thanks.



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The "stirring" is only used occasionally, when the ballerina is doing some ungodly number of turns - 8 or 10 - and doesn't actually need to be propelled by the overhead hand, but it's a distraction to the audience, "Aha, that's how she's doing so many turns!" Wrong! She's doing all that herself.

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Thanks to Mr. Johnson and Ms. Leigh. I'll try to corner my partner this weekend and work on these!


So even if I'm going for like 10 turns (right now we are doing a double, but I think ideally it'd be like 4-5), I just gotta do it myself - which would require me also to remember to keep upright....


Lots to think about. Thanks again.

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If I can add another tip? It is very important that the girl keeps her arm (the one in 5th) very strong. If you have a loose arm it pretty much defeats the point of holding on to his finger. It will probably just throw you off.

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A couple of things to keep in mind:


Get a good push off with your left hand (the guy needs to keep his hand/arm firm) - but don't put too much force. That's a problem that I have (well, mostly during whip turns).


Make sure your right hand/arm is directly overhead. Sometimes the guys tend to pull your arm behind you.


Coordinate your left hand pushing off with your right leg opening to 2nd and bringing into retire.


Hope this helps... I've seen "stirring" to get more pirouettes in. Don't like it at all...

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Yes, a strong push off (really push) with the arm in second will do the trick. Then just hold the retire really well and keep your high arm very solid.


I've never done any "stirring", either. With a good partner and a strong retire, 5 turns should be easy to achieve.


For stage, it's best to stick with an agreed-upon number, instead of leaving up to fate:)

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Yup, I've done pirouettes pushing off that arm in second and with a strong fouette... and definitely set an amount for stage in the past, etc; just this one, keeping the arm overhead, that I hadn't done before.


Thanks to all for the advice. On a horrible grainy flour, in slippers, we practised on Saturday and it was so much better without the stirring, an easy double. I'm now looking forward to this en pointe.


My fear is that the around 2 inches difference also made a difference; he may be a bit short to do these with me en pointe... (or, other way around, my feet might be too big! I do have long feet for my height, so.....!).




Thanks again.

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I once partnered a professional dancer at a latin nightclub, I was able to do 20 finger turns on her by stirring. She did not even have to wind up and fouette'.



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MJ, out of pure and total curiousity, could you elaborate more on *how*? What kinda shoes, floor, height of demi, straight/bent supporting leg.... how you started it? (Yes yes yes, I've been known to ask too many questions....)


But you know, curiousity just got the best of me....

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So funny. Right after this thread started, I watched some dancers (just for fun) trying to outdo themselves using the "stirring" action. I believe they're up to 17 now :)

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We mean the same type of stirring, yeah, the man's finger in the woman's hand 'stirring' the woman around?


Not the stirring/mixing/pottery motion on the waist?



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