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Fouette turns- how many is reasonable?


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DD had her exam yesterday and was pretty upset she couldn’t do 32 fouetté turns (in slippers) on her left leg. She had done it earlier in the day. The exam was really hard and the fouettés were at the end just before révérence. She’s in the highest level at the school. I’ve been watching the semiannual exams for this level for a few years, even before DD was in the level. I honestly believe this was the hardest exam I’ve seen that level do. DD’s shins were really sore after the grand allegro (her weakest area) and she just couldn’t support herself long enough to get out all 32. I’ve given up on trying to count turns but she was turning decently more than half the amount of time she was supposed to so I imagine she did at least 16. I explained to her that she was expecting to much from herself to do that many after such an intense exam. I told her she was expecting 15 year old muscles to do 17 or 18 year old work. Was I right? Is she expecting too much for a 15 year old? Just for more information she tells me she can do 16 on pointe. She’s the youngest in the class. There is a girl 6 months older than her that is a strong turner and jumper. DD’s strength is in adagio. I know intellectually she knows that each person has their own strengths and she shouldn’t be comparing but I know we both do anyway. In Kostrovviskaya’s 100 Lessons I see Grand Fouette being taught in level 5 (DD’s level) second lesson. Ms. K suggests they do 4 in slippers. I think DD is being to hard on herself. What do you think?

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I think you're right. For an intermediate/advanced student, 8 clean on both sides is good.


She'd done 32 earlier in the day? Reminds me of my favorite very dirty shaggy-dog story of "Rufus, the Roman Seducer". The punch line is "It went fine at dress rehearsal this morning!"

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So her shins give her problems, right? Does she have problems with pronation?


I agree with you and Mel- she's being entirely too hard on herself :)

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Age 15, 5th year Vaganova work, tours fouette at 45 degrees 4-8 on pointe, 8 on demi pointe. Grand fouette has many forms and is taught in varying ways from year 5-8. It is an entirely different movement from tour fouette. :shrug:


6th year work at the barre at 90 degrees (1), on demi pointe at 45 degrees 8-18, on pointe at 45 degrees 8-16.

7th year work...on pointe at 45 degrees, 16-24

8th year work...on pointe at 45 degrees, 16-32




One cannot tell in the US, with the mixed levels, what year of study is being accomplished unless it is clearly stated somewhere in the school. It is not really an important issue in the US. What is important is that she does not get injured if she is being pushed to do more difficult work.


There are many reasons for shin splints, but rolling in on the ankles could definitely contribute to the problem. Also, not resting enough is another. Now that her exam is over, have her take a day off. As difficult as that may be in audition season, it is an important part of educating the body. :thumbsup:

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I know this is a parent forum, so if this is inappropriate please delete!


I am in a similar situation as your daughter, I can do about 16 on the right and probably on 8 on the left. I read the advice from Clara 76 and Mel Johnson but was wondering, how can summer programs expect you to do 32 on both sides on pointe, I believe, when you are only 15? Such as say, Houston. I read somewhere that they have you do traditional fouettes and Italian fouettes. Is this reasonable for a 15 year old?


I understand if you need to delete!

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Thank you very much for all the great info. Yes, she does pronate. Yes, she does need a day off and fortunately today is a snow day.

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GRANDJETETOBALLET-Perhaps we'll just move your question to an appropriate place in General SI Topics?



What is being done about the pronation? (I'm glad she's off today!!!)

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What is being done about the pronation?


They're nagging (er, correcting)her. LOL She has OTC inserts that she's supposed to put in her street shoes and I try to replace her street shoes once they look "rolled". She goes around the house barefoot all the time which I know isn't good. It's also pretty cold. I'm not sure what else to do. I suppose I should do a search on that.



Ironic, I was just reading old threads on pronating and found this old post of mine


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See, there IS a reason why we keep those threads! :shrug:


Now, Grandjete, I think we can keep your post here, but let's ask: Do they expect you to do the full 32, or are they finding out how many you actually do in order to determine strength and persistence? It can be important in establishing class level, but not nearly as much as you may think.

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Vicarious, she should be doing her proprioception exercises every day, along with wearing her inserts in her street shoes.


However, she's a teenager, and we all know how when you're a teenager, you suddenly know everything there is to know in the entire world, so it may be tough to gain her cooperation in this matter. But, perhaps if you show her what we say, she'll listen.


So here goes:

Vicarious's dd- you must do your proprioception exercises every day, and wear your inserts in your street shoes. That is, unless you wish to have a career-ending injury, in which case, don't listen to us who know not the ways of the world :shrug: I've seen girls who pronate snap their achilles tendons- not a pretty sight.

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Dear Vicarious,


I want to add something that I might relate to my daughter...I am just reading Daneman's biography of Margot Fonteyn. I agree, first of all, that 15 is a bit young to expect her to master these; but furthermore, would emphasize that, even in this day and age when the technical level of dancers is so elevated compared to what it was in the past, technique, in my humble opinion, is still the means to the end, not the end in itself. Virtuoso technique ought to serve the art form, and not the other way around. While students will and must struggle to attain as high a level of technique as possible, the truth is, they will seldom be called upon, at least initially, and possibly ever, to use 32 fouettes; it is an ideal, not a necessity, unless she is lucky enough to play Odette/Odile one day. My just-14 year old daughter is just beginning to work on fouettes on pointe and while I understand that your dd is a bit older and also under the pressure of having to pass an exam, perhaps privately, you could share with her this relevant passage on Fonteyn's struggle with the Odette/Odile's fouettes:


"Central to her (Fonteyn's) apprehension were the famous 32 fouettes in Act III, a speciality of the original Odette/Odile, Pierina Legnani, and the bane of ballerinas' lives ever since. Fouettes are virtuoso turns on one leg, propelled by a repeated whipping action of the other; and the fuss made over them by audiences and critics is disproportionate to their artistic merit, or even their technical difficulty- for, being a knack more than an accomplishment, they might as easily be torn off by a confident student as defy an experienced star. In Margot's case, they were a struggle from the start. But although it is perfectly permissible and, sometimes, artistically preferable for a ballerina to substitute a more congenial step, it went against Margot's nature to admit defeat. Perhaps she had an innate understanding that purity of intention is more endearing to an audience than perfection of execution..."


And later, re Fonteyn's first performance of the role:


"'Well, somehow or other I did it,' writes Margot, although in truth the dreaded virtuoso turns did not stay on one spot, or rise to the requisite number of thirty-two. The critics forgave her: 'I have never seen her so regal in manner of half so brilliant, in spite of indifferent fouettes and an occasional jerkiness,' wrote Arnold Haskell. Tangye Lean was not less indulgent: 'The peculiar atmosphere of poetry which infuses the smallest of her movements merged perfectly with the sinister gloom of the second and fourth acts, but in the third, which demands a t technique and a certain hardness of acting, she rose to it with a stability that one had not seen in her before.'"


In the end, she should certainly not think that her chances of becoming a ballet dancer HANG upon doing 32; perhaps she is one who should rather aim for 16 beautifully executed turns (the minimum requirement needed to pass the exam reported by VRS) rather than demand 32 of herself at this point, and be disappointed and depressed if she cannot yet achieve them.

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Shock and amazement! DD has been doing most of the exercises most everyday! She does some before, during and after class and a couple at home. Here's what she does. Calf stretches, knee stretches, stair dips, towel streches (with theraband), golf ball massage, ankle rotations, and marble pick up. I think she should also do ankle alphabet and towel scrunchies.


I wonder if this pronation stuff should be on a seperate thread?

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  • 4 months later...
Age 15, 5th year Vaganova work, tours fouette at 45 degrees 4-8 on pointe, 8 on demi pointe.


Just an update. She had exams today. 12 fouettes on pointe at 45 degres. She says she can do more but hers are slow and so she ran out of music. Her shins are doing much better now that the Bolero performance is done. Very percussive choreography.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I asked Dd about this one. She says before they leave the barre, they have to do 32 foutte preparations on each side - perfectly! In the centre, they are asked to complete 16 on each side. If they lose control, they are expected to continue to complete 16. She is about to turn 15. When we saw Don Quiote last year, 32 fouttes, perfectly executed, got a resounding applause. And this was by a professional dancer. So I suspect 32 is quite a high mark to aim for.

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