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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Spotting for Open Turns


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Hello All,

Am I correct in that you DO spot for attitude turns and DON'T spot for arabesque turns, or have I mixed up the rules? What about for turns in a la seconde?

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That's a really good question. We recently practiced open turns a lot in class and I remembered having learnt years ago not to spot. But the teacher wanted me to spot. When I asked her and told her about what I learnt before, she told me that it would depend on the speed of the turn and if you would do multiple turns. Grand Pirouettes used in Adagios, no spot, multiple turns in Allegros, spot.


However, I would be interested too to get a clear answer!

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You always need to have a focal point or you won't know where to stop! :o The head can't turn as quickly in open position turns ( except for like grand pirouettes à la seconde in a coda, which are fast), therefore you can't spot the same as in a regular pirouette, but you can know exactly where you are going and make sure your head gets there. It's more like looking where you are going than actual spotting, but it's a "sort of" spotting. :wink:


Your teacher is right, Claude, in that the faster the turns are, the more actual spotting there will be. In a slow turn you can't exactly snap the head around when the rest of the body is not turning quickly enough, but you can have a focus on where you going to end the turn. :)

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In the very olde days - think Bournonville - single pirouettes were quite slow, were done on pointe, but as Ms. Leigh says, you had to have a reference point for stopping. But those turns were SO slow, you could do that with your eyes alone! Doubles had a spot, but you didn't do them on pointe!


If I remember my Cecchetti classes correctly, he used to use no spots in pirouettes in arabesque and attitude. Very tricky, and demanded great spatial awareness while you were turning.

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Interesting to read your answers and I am glad that my teacher is right :) Yes, she told us basically to spot where we want to finish (or spot to the front as another option but this more as an exception).

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In Vaganova, the "open" turns are known as turns in big poses. In these turns, one does not spot for singles, doubles nor triples. When doing turns in sequence, with demi plie'/releve, spotting is used.

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