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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Grand pirouettes en pointe


Claude_Catastrophique

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At the moment we are working a lot on grand pirouettes in class, in all kind of positions but mostly in attitude derrière and arabesques. I remember, that I asked advice here on attitude turns en dedans and I have got some great advice that really worked for me, unfortunately just when I am in flats. As soon as I have to do them on pointe I can't really feel my back leg anymore and it carries me away after about 3/4 of a turn (usually we have to do doubles and somewhat or a singel and somewhat...so that we are facing another direction than we started in).

 

My teacher told me, that I really have to feel the opposition of shoulders and legs (e.g. left leg in arabesque, I should feel the right shoulder). It helped me a little bit but I just can feel my shoulder and back but not my leg. It seems like cut off. I was also told to lift it more but I am kind of afraid to fall over...

 

I went back to practice them on flats and there I am always surprised that I am already around and they feel rather easy but as soon as I am on pointe I am totally lost.

 

After all, I manage to get around once but then I crash when I have to land (we have to arabsque plié and I am always thrown out of the plié because my back leg sway just ANYWHERE).

 

Any advice for me?

 

Edit: I wanted to say too, that en dehors turns work much better because I can feel the back leg crossing and the relation to the shoulder. Just when I land (on one leg) I am falling backwards.

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Claude, don't forget that when you are turning with a leg extended to the back, your upper body must work in opposition to the force and energy of that back leg. The natural tendency is to fall back on these turns, especially the further you are away from the floor, ie, en pointe is further than demi pointe, which is further than flat! :) If you can do them on demi pointe and only fall back at the end of the turn, then you are allowing your weight to go towards the back leg rather than moving it forward over the plié leg. Sounds to me like when you do it en pointe you never quite get the body weight far enough forward and upward to stay in opposition to the back leg.

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Thank you for your reply. I think you are right. My teacher is really sweet and is truely patience! She asked me to do the pirouettes today with my weight waaayy to much over my supporting leg, just to feel where it should be.

 

After all, I noticed that sometimes I am right from the beginning not properly on the platform of my pointeshoe and than the feeling of being carried away is much stronger.

 

I hope I will find an empty studio this week to try and experiment on my own on the weight-distribution because in class I am totally blocked at the moment.

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I hope this doesn't sound completely like a canned answer, but my tip is "Lift-lift"! Sure, everyone might say lift in class like it's the go-to word for anything that goes wrong, but I really mean it this time! En pointe, that extra lift to place your hip/pelvic area over your platform is so important. Sometimes, it's hard to feel it, but that extra up and forward placement can also feel wrong when it's actually so right.

 

The second lift is relevant too... and that's your leg. If you feel like you're not aware of what your leg is doing or where it is, do lift it higher if not at least to the normal height you normally use on flat shoes. Your muscles will likely make more of an effort to hold the leg up, thus making you aware of its placement. Trust your body to know how to hold the leg up the way you always do. Holding it lower isn't second nature for your body and all the practice you've been doing on demi, so it wouldn't necessarily be any easier or safer that way. Am I making sense?

 

I think what I'm trying to say is, on flat you've been practicing it a certain way at a certain height... you should probably keep doing that with the extra lift/push of your center/hips/body/pelvis onto your platform so that your body has less to think about and just executes what it's already inclined to do. Also, not that it seems to be a problem for you (though it can be for me), trust that en pointe things like turns can just happen more easily. It takes a lot less momentum for you to actually get around, so if you're thinking "on platform, lift up, lift/control back leg, opposition, strong spot" the turn usually comes anyway from those 4 factors due to having less friction and less resistance from being on pointe.

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I am sorry that it took me so long to reply. My internet was on and off and I did not want to write a reply and then not being able to post it. I kind of figured out now how the attitude turns work and I can get around now once properly (just the landing is still difficult and a second turn throws me off) but it helped me for the arabesques a bit. Teacher allows me to plié when I feel like falling so that I can finish properly and actually I can imagine now a bit how the back leg should feel. Lifting it higher made things worse but at least it made me realize about the "where" of the leg!

 

Usually turns for me on pointe are much easier, unfortunately just the turn...I can turn easily three times on pointe but the landing is more of a crash than everything else (the more turns I add, the worse gets the landing) so I stick with doubles and try to get the landing clean first (I land so bad that sometimes I nearly kiss the floor haha). And you are right about not pushing so hard like on flats, on pointe I throw myself easier out of a turn because I have too much momentum at the beginning (and not being able to control it).

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