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Help With Pirouettes on Pointe


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I have a pirouette dilemma (nothing new for me right :shrug: ) For en dehor pirouettes en pointe I have no fear (especially coming from fifth position) but I have difficulty making a complete revolution. Like for my pirouettes in slippers I end up not being totally vertical-leaning- and not making it all the way around. Really focusing on "seeing" my face in the mirror helps but not always. On the other hand pirouettes en dedan en pointe (especially from a fourth position lunge, especially turning to the right on the right leg) frighten the daylights out of me, but for some reason I DO make it all the way around, sometimes even one and a half times. My teachers tell me to control the arms, make a larger fourth position, really push into the floor and spot sharply. I do this, feel butterflies in my stomach and feel like my heart is about to pop out of my chest. I sometimes end up flinching my arms and having an ugly turned-in passe leg, but again I have NO problem making a full revolution.

As an adult, I feel (for me atleast) over half the battle is mental. Other than that, does anyone have any technical tips for en dehor/en dedan pirouettes en pointe :P


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Hi Gerlonda,

Unfortunately, I don't have any advice to offer but I just want to say that I have the exact same problems - with slippers though, as I'm not en pointe - but the problem is reversed. I have the most difficulty with en dehors - can't make a complete 360-degree turn and the retiré is lost half way through the turn. I don't have as much trouble with en dedans though. It seems much easier to hold my trunk upright when doing en dedans than en dehors.

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Hi Gerlonda:


I had the same fear when I started practicing pirouettes on pointe too. So I have been watching pirouettes of those pirouette divas (especiall Rojo) many many times repeatedly--and here's what I found to be helpful. I think of really going through flat=>demi=>and then on full pointe when I start turning. So I start pushing the floor with my heel and ball as I start turning, transition into demi and then transition into a full pointe--kind of like thrusting but gradually decreasing the contact surface of the thrusting action. This visualization and also the feeling of gradual loss of contact with the floor made turns less scary. Turning from the 5th is the easiest for me since it entails the least amount of chance of weight displacement. En dedans to the left comes and goes. I need to practice turning left more!


Good luck.


Eun Hee




Edited by Moderator to remove unnecessary quotation of whole of 1st post.

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Gerlonda, can you be absolutely tough with yourself and talk yourself through exactly what it is you're scared of? That is, don't do it, but say out loud to yourself "I am scared of X happening when I do Y" etc etc, and then equally rationally, tell yourself why that is not likely to happen? And if it did happen, talk yourself through what you'd do? what's the worse that could happen? But not in an overdramatic way, but absolutely logically & rationally.


I was out fell walking in the Lake District on Friday (not allowed back to ballet yet, but I'm starting some "gentle" hill walking -- didn't go above the treeline because of the weather forecast). Anyway, I was overtaken by a couple of forecast snow clouds and was walking through a bit of a snow storm, -- quite mild really, but for 15 minutes a bit wild. So I talked to myself out loud, and went through my safety precautions -- compass, map, water, food -- put on my extra jumper & scarf (I now had 3 jumpers + jacket), and my extra hat & gloves, and told myself what I'd do if the snow got heavy, so started looking for a likely clump of close growing trees as shelter, and so on.


Actually, within 15 minutes it was glorious sunshine again, but going through my list of the worst that could happen, and working out logically and realistically how I'd deal with it, actually allayed irrational, inarticulated fears. Knowledge is the best way to banish fear.

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Problems with en dedans pirouettes often have their basis in the turnout of the supporting leg. The challenge there is to maintain the turnout from the hip, because when turning en dedans, you are turning toward the direction of the turnout. It's therefore easy to lose the rotation on the supporting leg, and the working/gesture leg has nothing to support its turnout.

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I get my students to practise en dehors pirouettes at the barre first to get the feeling. Pirouette from 5th en dehors and finish facing the barre on pointe, so that you feel the pirouette position and you know that after 3/4 of a turn the barre is there to support you! Once you're used to doing 3/4 turns and keeping the leg up under the knee until the end, it's not so difficult to complete the pirouette in the middle. Another trick to try in the centre is to get someone to hold your waist and turn you in pirouette position, so that you get the feeling of staying up until you reach the front again.

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For pirouette en dedans (prepared by fourth en fondu), make sure your body weight is really supported on the front leg. The back leg is just "barely" there. Then, make sure if you want to do the pirouette with or without fouette action, before to go up on releve. If you go without fouette action, think directly up while opening your front arm sideways. Close the other arm quickly to first, spot your head. What your supporting leg do is basically a simple releve (go UP!!), the turn happens by the arms (and your upper body as well) and the spotting of the head.

If you go WITH fouette action, be careful not to throw your body weight into the fouete-d leg. Make sure it's centered on the supporting leg. Swing your working leg sideways, deepening your plie, then go up to releve while wrapping your working leg into retire through a strong "battement frappe fouette" action.


Just make sure you go up.


and don't be scared.


Learning to pirouette is like learning to ride a bicycle. Don't be afraid to fall.


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