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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Fouettes


skyish

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First of all I'd like to ask if it is possible to do fouette turns without having spectacular turning skills? Because (I know it's not really a fouette turn) but I find it easy to practice "finger turns" at the barre though I cannot really do clean pirouettes right now. And I think using my leg as a force tool really helps me to control my turn :D By the way I'm recently capable of doing doubles from fifth position to the left side (I cannot do fourth position pirouettes), so I'm trying to do fouettes to the left side as I'm not really successful at turning to the right...But I've never seen anyone doing left fouettes so I wonder if they exist in the literature? Do I have to do right side fouettes? :D

 

Secondly, I was trying to watch slow motion fouettes to analyze how it is done but can't really get anywhere because I couldn't understand when to plie, when to releve, exactly where to open my passe (directly to front?) and when to straighten my whipping leg(to a la seconde; is it on the way to side or is it at the point where my leg gets to the side?); I'm doing them this way:

 

1)Start with passe

2)Open passe slightly to the left-front while starting the plie

3)During the plie start to straighten the leg on the way to the left

4)When it's on the left start doing releve (that's where I got stucked!)

5)Take passe to the back when facing backwards

6)Take passe to the front when facing where I started :D

 

Anyway, a third question is, our studio's partner studio is performing Swan Lake and I was watching their rehearsal yesterday to see how the lead dancer does the fouettes and I noticed something; I think it is called "cuban style" ( :D ) But she does not really straighten her whipping leg but keeps it in an open passe form while turning like Alicia Alonso does. Is it a universally accepted style, or should I learn fouettes in the normal style (straightening the leg)?

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The leg should straighten immediately as it leaves the retiré to open front. Not straightening it looks quite awful, in my opinion anyway! The relevé can happen as you go from second to retiré or as you arrive in second. They are done both ways. The retiré leg really does not go back and front of the knee, just directly to the turning position. The front and seconde positions of the working leg should be very rotated and the foot totally pointed. It is very rare to see good fouettés these days, also in my opinion, because the seconde is usually turned in, the working foot is not articulate, and the arms look like one is doing karate, not ballet! :D

 

That said, it is not recommended for students who do not own good pirouettes from 4th yet to work on fouettés. They are an advanced step, and when you learn then before that level all that happens is that you build in bad habits. I would suggest waiting until your pirouettes are strong, secure and well turned out! :D

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Yes! Learning Fouettes is a process, and one does not go from beginning to learn pirouettes directly into fouettes.

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Thanks for the explanation=) Yes I do notice those flexed feet and thrown limbs in some videos...

 

Oh those fourth position pirouettes!! I hate them with a burning passion :D I don't know for sure, but does it really take years and years of ballet education to learn how to turn properly; or do miracles happen? Because it hasn't been even a year since I've learned what a pirouette is; but it feels soooo long and I don't feel like I've progressed anyhow... =/ Any other exercise than ballet to help me turn? Pilates, yoga, aerobic, maybe (even) capoeira? I'm doing everything but I just can't learn :D My ERASMUS application resulted in Strasbourg/France, so I'll be doing ballet only until January here, then I will try to find adult ballet classes in France and if I cannot, I'm planning to take some strenghtening-stretching sports activites to keep improving...

 

And..OK I know that you cannot say that without watching me dance but, what could possibly be wrong with me if I cannot do any other turn else than pirouette piquees en dedans (both sides), pirouette piquee en dehors (is it en dehors when you put working leg to the side, plie on it, step other foot and turn on it?)(only left), chaines, pirouettes from fifth position? I cannot do fourth position pirouettes, arabesque-attitude turns...Does it sound like a gravity issue? Maybe back-ab strenght?Turn out?

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No, it sounds like incorrect placement on preparation. A piqué en dehor pirouette (stepping 4th towards the corner is better than second, in my opinion) is exactly like a regular pirouette en dehors except that you arrive on the pointe or demi-pointe differently. If you can do one, you should be able to do the other. However, if your 4th position is off, that would make a big difference.

 

First, don't take too big a 4th. Then be sure you are aligned and not allowing the pelvis to tip forward and the derrière out, and place your weight primarily in the front leg. Practice the relevé to the pirouette position endlessly. When that is good, do the relevé around the corner. When that is good, go further around the corner, increasing it until you have a pirouette. :D

 

About arabesque and attitude pirouettes...they are also a more advanced step and I would not worry about those at all yet.

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Yes my fourth position is always either too big or too small =/ And I noticed that I tend to prepare my front foot to releve by raising my heel "before" the turn. So you are right =) You are the best Ms. Leigh=) Really thanks=)

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Thanks, skyish :wink: When you are in 4th, there should be a slight downward thrust of energy into the front leg before the relevé. If your weight is in that leg, you can do that. If it is in the back leg, the front heel can lift, so then you are actually trying to relevé from a VERY weak position, and your body has to far to travel too far to get on top of the leg! :)

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