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Ballet Talk for Dancers

How will I know I'm ready?


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Right now, I practice passé relevés rather than pirouettes. (Which, by the way, are plenty difficult for me!) My question is this: how will I know when the time is right to actually try turning? Should I wait for my teacher to say something, or is she just waiting for me to give it a go? Is this something I should ask her about after class? (My hunch is "yes" to that last question.)

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Yes, your teacher is there, and can tell when you should start turning. We can help, but the computer isn't very well suited to initial instruction.

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In my personal experience....


I'm getting quite a decent retiré balance now, but I'm still not really able to get a consistent clean en dehor pirouette (I'm much better in en dedans!). I was asked to start to try turning even before I could balance from a plié in 5th to relevé retiré.


I suppose different teachers have different methods of teaching - mine asked us to try and turn soon after we were taught to do a relevé retiré - she said if we stick to doing balances for too long, we will be more and more afraid of turning.


But please do ask your teacher - he/she might have a progression plan for you :lol:



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My experience was much the same as Fish's -- we were taught the retiré relevé and turn all as one, and the impetus of up in the retiré relevé helped the impetus of the turn, and vice versa -- the turning helps keep you up. I've seen some teachers teach quarter turns, half turns, then full turns. But you could just try to turn and see what happens?


Also, Victoria Leigh's very useful advice that "a pirouette is a balance that turns" might help? I know I say that over in my head during pirouettes in class.

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Personally, I think beginning students should turn as soon as they can. Two footed turns at first and then one footed. There is just something about being in a rotational world that you have to become accustomed to. Balances we do forever. I know I was able to turn a not so good pirouette before I was able to balance in retire for very long. But overall, for me improvement in both went together. Both improved considerably over time and I never tried to link them other then when balancing was a preparation for turning in a combination.


That a pirouette is nothing more than a turning balance is one of those old sayings that works well as an image, but the physics of turning is a whole lot more complicated than just balancing. Rotating causes your body parts to want to fly away, something that doesn’t happen in just balancing when all you are contending with is gravity.

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Garyecht- what do you mean by two footed turns, like chaines? Or what do you mean by one footed turn, fouette? I couldn't get this, because you know in the end, you stand on one leg in every turn except chaines =P And in my opinion chaines are more different than a single pirouette because you just turn one time in a pirouette and stop but in chaines you have to move on and this makes you even dizzier :shrug:


Anyway I agree with trying to turn in the very beginning concept, because in my opinion working only on balances will not help learning how to control your body "during" the turn so these two must be practiced together.

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I'll venture a guese here for two-footed turns as Chaines and Soutenou turns?


And one-footed turns as any other turns like a normal pirouette (in retire), a la seconde, arabesque, attitude etc etc. I probably won't venture into fouettes just yet (I think I can manage 2! It's a bit frustrating to do when I know there are people out there who can do more than 32 when I can do 2. Most people can do not more than 3 pirouettes so managing 1 feels like I've achieved a third of the way!)



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I'll say something to my teacher before my next class and just see where she stands on the issue, whether she wants me to wait and will cue me when she wants to see me try turning, or if she is leaving it to me to go for it. (Of course, I do try at home. :shrug: It's working on them in class that I'm wondering about.)

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As a teacher, I am fond of telling my students to go for it. My standard line is, "There are no Dance Police in ballet", and I believe that you have to just try your best. You won't succeed until you've failed many, many times.

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Clara, I'm glad you wrote that! My instinct as a fellow student is to advise JETandGES to just go for it, but I wasn't sure if that was appropriate advice from a teavcher's point of view.


But my analogy is working with students in making performance work, or writing essays. I urge them to try things and throw them away many times before they get to a successful performance, or draft and redraft an essay to get good and sophisticated written communication!

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:angry: I second what Clara76 and Rebookish says.


Even though I still am not really doing consistent clean pirouettes, I believe just going for it does help. Sometimes it feels good just for the sheer fact of throwing caution to the wind (sometimes!!) (I love turns across the floor, particularly posé turns :D)


There are some days when I have really good turning days and consistently on balance, but some days I tend to fall forward, or backwards - it's useful to try to feel where I was in the turn, take that mistake and try again to correct that mistake.

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