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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Problems with turns


Merry

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Oh dear, I feel a bit nervous posting this title because I couldn't think of the correct generic term for travelling pirouettes, as opposed to ones that are (supposed!) to stay in one place.

 

Anyway, my problem is this. In class we regularly practice various types of turn diagonally across the room. To the right, I have no problems - OK so they are not great perhaps, but I don't have any problem with spotting, don't get dizzy, only wobble if they are very slow, stay in a straight line etc. The left side is a different matter altogether - I'm all over the place - the main problem appearing to be that my line of travel keeps drifting towards the front rather than the opposite diagonal corner. It doesn't matter which type of turn we are doing, they are all as bad as each other to the left. I realise many people find (generally) turning to the left more difficult, but no one else in my class has to suffer being the best on the right (there are only a few of us! :D ) and the worst (by quite a long way) on the left.

 

I need tips to improve please.

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Hi Merry

 

The best pieces of advice that I was given for diagonal turns are:

- dont just "spot" to the corner keep looking there, you only turn your head because you have to. I know this might sound strange, but I cant think of a better way to describe it.

- with pose turns move the ronde jombe leg not the turn

- you move down the diagonal because of the number of turns that you do not because of the turns

and my best one which is quite new for me is to use "aeroplane arms" think of straight straight arms.

 

I really battled with these for a long time so these were my notes in my book.

 

Good luck

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Normally, moving turns involve piqués (or posés)...not sure if there's a generic term though. I suspect you are talking about piqué/posé pirouettes en dedans though.

 

I don't have much help here, because I have a similar problem to what you have. There are many things I've been corrected for on the left:

- not being properly "on" my supporting leg

- throwing weight back

- dropping arms

- not spotting

- throwing one arm back too far

 

Not sure if that helps, but those are all things that can make turning harder.

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Thanks you two.

 

Erm......aeroplane arms, Balletlove? You mean try turning with arms stuck out like a plane, or think of it that way?

 

Lau, all those difficulties sound a bit familiar! I think probably I am not getting up onto my supporting leg properly, therefore my weight is back, so I am coming down too soon (to same myself from hitting the floor!) and am therefore not fully round, making it pretty impossible to make the next turn have the correct direction. I notice that as well as tending to move forward rather then to the corner I also don't travel far enough, which would stem from the same problems, I think?

 

I realise I just need to practice more :D but wondered if anyone had any magic solutions!!!

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Much like Lau says - I have much the same problem as you - but can offer the corrections I have been given.

 

The main one has to be with being timid and nervous. One teacher said that if you were uncertain before starting posé turns then you were likely to have your weight leaning slightly backwards before you started. Given that the turns require you to be moving forward with some momentum, leaning beackwards meant that you sabotaged yourself before you started. She also said that you had to really keep in mind that you wanted to get to the other side of the room to keep the movement purposeful.

 

She also said to make sure you can down into the plie between the turns, not to just try and turn from a straight leg.

 

I actually think they're a bit easier on pointe - maybe because you simply can't have your weight back?

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you had to really keep in mind that you wanted to get to the other side of the room to keep the movement purposeful.

 

And so they will be over quicker! (joking!!)

 

Yes, my current teacher says the same about timidity etc.

 

Interesting comment about the plié. I have pretty tight achilles and so my demi plié tends not to go down too far. I must check this out with these turns as I had not thought about it before, but would make a difference to getting up properly on balance.

 

I've not actually touched a point shoe for 28 years, so that will have to stay a distant memory, but I don't remember these turns being easier en pointe, just easier to do multiple turns before I fell over! :D

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I'm no expert but I think you're talking about piqué posé pirouettes a la diagonale (or a la manege).

 

I'm a right turner, so for the left, I really have to spot (I often don't spot to the right, naughty me), set my diagonal line clearly, step out boldly with my left foot into the piqué posé, and remember to use my back, and my right side to get around. I also find that setting a slightly shallower diagonal -- not corner to corner -- helps.

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Thanks Redbookish - I have been practising up and down the kitchen whilst supposedly watching some bacon grilling!

 

I have realised that I need to stop and start again when things go wrong, rather than furiously trying to correct (as in class). I have already seen improvements when mentally limiting myself to carrying on until it goes wrong (managed five reasonable posé turns) but I often only manage one reasonable turn when I imagine myself having to complete 8 or 12, or whatever.

 

When I was a teen I never thought about the impact of your own thought processes in dance, I just got on with it. Now the 'I can do this' makes a MASSIVE difference. Interesting.

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I'm a right turner, so for the left, I really have to spot (I often don't spot to the right, naughty me), set my diagonal line clearly, step out boldly with my left foot into the piqué posé, and remember to use my back, and my right side to get around. I also find that setting a slightly shallower diagonal -- not corner to corner -- helps.

 

Good things in this post! The "step out boldly" should be BOLDLY! (In bold type...I can't get it to work.) You do have to attack moving turns, no matter where they are moving. If you don't, your weight will not be far enough over your piqué leg and you will not get around far enough. Using the back is critical to bringing the opposite side around.

 

There are a couple of things in one post that I will have to dispute:

" - dont just "spot" to the corner keep looking there, you only turn your head because you have to. I know this might sound strange, but I cant think of a better way to describe it.

- with pose turns move the ronde jombe leg not the turn

- you move down the diagonal because of the number of turns that you do not because of the turns

and my best one which is quite new for me is to use "aeroplane arms" think of straight straight arms."

If you think of only turning your head when you have to, it could make you keep your head still too long before turning it.

I don't understand what is meant by moving the rond de jambe leg not the turn. ???

You move because you push off of one leg and step out on the other, therefore the number of times that you do this, the further you move.

Aeroplane arms??? I don't THINK so!

 

As for the use of the plié, it is important, as all piqué actions should be motivated by the demi plié. HOWEVER, the depth of the plié is not important. In fact, too much plié will keep the turns from moving smoothly. It is USING your plié well that matters, not how deep it is. The time between the turns is very short and the plié is just a quick "and", and the turn takes most of the measure of music. As with most things, including jumps. You want to be up longer than you are down. :D

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Thank you Victoria.

 

I nearly burned the bacon because I managed the full length of the kitchen (about 9 or 10 yards) without going off line. It seems thinking 'up' rather than 'turn' is helping and not thinking 'oh no, I can't do these' :D

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What might help is to film yourself and then you can clearly see what you're doing wrong. For example, I don't *feel* myself dropping my arms - the only way I know I do it is because my teachers have told me I do that. I can, however, feel my weight is back, and that has lead-on problems as you mentioned. Another problem I sometimes have is that I do not step "out" far enough and end up squishing myself (if that makes sense). I have been told to "step out" more. However, I have also had the opposite problem where I've been stepping out too far! Both of those situations will contribute to your weight placement being off.

 

Keep trying. Mine have improved a lot through practice and confidence.

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Thinking more about this, and after Ms Leigh has mentioned stepping out boldly, I always have to remember to take my pelvic girdle with me, and to try to keep it flat. I have a tendency in all movements, from plié on, to let me pelvis tilt back, and not flattening out and pulling up the front of my body. If this happens while I'm stepping out into the piqué posé, I'm behind my leg, and I can't get the speed I need for these turns. So it's a matter of taking the torso with me in one flat plane, particularly my pelvis (and bottom!). I find Ms Clara's idea of the hip bones as headlights helps me as well, to get that sense of strong direction and momentum.

 

Actually, while I'm sitting here at my desk in the British Library (so I can't get up & try it out :D ) but thinking it through, for me, the start of a sequence of these turns is important, as I really concentrate of getting my whole torso stepping forward with my leg. So it's easier when you're doing them as the set exercise, much more difficult when you're given a couple of posé turns in the middle of a combination.

 

I really love posé turns -- that sense of speed and whipping round is great fun!

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I always have to remember to take my pelvic girdle with me, and to try to keep it flat

 

This is my big problem! (See my thread on posture problems) I think my headlights shine at the skirting boards alot of the time!!

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Hi Merry

 

Those aeroplane arms.... we have found in our studio that some of us leave our one shoulder behind (my teachers description, not mine) some of us forget to open the first arm etc, so thinking of opening the arms from a pirouette position to an aeroplane position and back to a fifth seems to have helped all of that as well as some of the girls who seem to take a rather round about way in getting the arms from the open position back to the fifth position. The difference it has made for a lot of us is remarkable.

 

Good luck

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It's just that the use of that term would indicate to me a straight line with palms flat down, which is not an à la seconde position. When using a rounded front arm in the preparation, the front arm opens as the turn begins and there is a moment of a second position before the other arm gets around to catch up with it in the first (5th en avant) position. But when using the straight front arm preparation there is no à la second because the front arm goes immediately to the pirouette position. So, I don't quite understand how the "aeroplane" arms can work aesthetically. :offtopic:

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