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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Frustrated with turns and recital is a few weeks away


pointe36

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Just a little bit about myself, started up ballet again a few years ago after a 20 year hiatus. I started pointe last June (it was my goal to start by my 36th birthday) and I'm getting stronger and braver every week. I take 3 classes a week at 2 different studios. The class I go to twice a week is having a recital in a few weeks and I'm really really frustrated with this one section in the dance where it is 3 different turns and it goes really fast. I'm doing the recital en pointe, but these particular turns I'm not ready to do en pointe especially when they are so fast. Fact is, my teacher barely does center work and therefore we never ever work on turns. Our center work is maybe 10 mins long if even that and now with the recital coming up we barely are even doing barre work. When I ask for help, she just assumes I am afraid of turning. I'm not afraid, I just think we don't get enough practice with them and then we are suppose to just know how to do them for a recital. The 3 turns are: en dedan pirouette from the 4th to the second position with arms in fifth, to a soutenu turn with arms in first to a pirouette with arms back in fifth. And like I said, it's fast. I just find myself not being able to get around fast enough and not lose my balance. I especially lose it from going to first to fifth arm positions so fast, but if I do it keep it in first, no problem. Is being in demi in pointe shoes making me not be able to keep my balance? Last night I was getting so upset in class over this and I try to think positive, but these turns are getting to me. And then she is always sayings my shoulders aren't down. Any suggestions about keeping balance in demi with pointe shoes? Anybody else have teachers that never work on turns and then just expects you to know them? Looking at the other girls in class (they are in ballet slippers), their turns don't look clean either, but far better than mine. I'm afraid I'm going to look like an idiot on stage!

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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, pointe36!

 

First, I must ask about whether you are in pointe shoes or demi pointe shoes? Secondly, why are you in either one when the others are in flats? Thirdly, why are you in a class with negligible center work? Does not sound like a very good school to me, if they don't do more than 10 minutes of center, no work on pirouettes, and then expect you to do them in a recital. :(

 

Also, I'm not understanding the combination you wrote about. En dedans turn to second position??? I don't even know how that could happen unless you are finishing the turn facing upstage! How do you get to the soutenu and then from there to the pirouette, and where does that pirouette start and end? Is it an en dehor pirouette?

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I'm in pointe shoes. Me and another woman are the only ones en pointe. Another woman started the same time as me, but she stopped after her second time. As for the other couple of girls, they aren't strong enough and just started coming to class. I don't particularly like the school either. The studio is so small and the floor is never cleaned and the owner is crazy. I do like my teacher, but I also have noticed recently she doesn't work us as hard and it is more of a social hour than a class. I find myself feeling that I'm losing my strength as well ever since we started learning the dance. Another thing that has been frustrating to me. It's hard because the teacher and all of us have become friends.

 

I think I might've used the wrong term for the first turn. We start in a wide 4th with out left leg in back and then when we push off to turn she wants our left leg to be in à la seconde and then up to passé. When that turn is completed, we keep going into the soutenu and then I forgot to mention this turn...we do a quick prep for a chaine turn and then that goes into a pique turn. So 4 turns total and very fast. It's the first turn into the second that throws me off and then I am completely off balance doing the chaine with arms in first to the pique turn with arms in fifth. I hope I explained that better?

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Okay, the first turn is just an en dedan turn that uses the degagé into the relevé instead of going straight up. There are two valid ways to do an en dedan pirouette. Not sure what you mean by a quick prep for a chainé, but think it is probably just a piqué soutenu into the regular piqué turn. Anyway, yes, that is four turns in a row, and being given to someone who has not had pirouette training in center. Therefore, it makes no sense. I'm sorry, but I strongly recommend that you seek a different school.

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Yeah I know:( Occasionally we will start work on turns at the barre, but then 3 months go by without doing that again. Thank God I started going to this other studio, the teacher there is amazing. As for the dance, the quick prep...after doing the first two turns she wants us to step back into plie onto our left foot, tendu devant to go into the chainé. I find it embarrassing that I can do practically everything else except for turns. Although, I do better in turns when I am up on pointe. Just not quick enough to get up there for these turns quite yet. Thank you for help:)

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Pointe36, that sounds like a lovely but challenging enchainement. But I love turning, and relish the momentum that a series of lovely different turns can create.

 

My main question is, do you have to do it on pointe? If the rest of the group performing in the recital is not on pointe, why are you on pointe? If I were director/choreographer, I'd want everyone either on or off pointe. And for performers, it's probably more satisfying to do something well on demi-pointe than stumble through on pointe.

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Hi Redbookish,

 

I do agree with you on that, but 2 of the girls just started coming to our class after we started learning the dance and my instructor asked them to be in it. The downside is that they are both beginners and unfortunately the owner of the studio doesn't explain to new customers that our class is intermediate and my instructor is afraid to say anything about it to the owner. It definitely gets frustrating because my instructor focuses more on the new girls and makes the class easier. But, yet, she never works with us on turns. I have to do that at home or in my other class. I've been debating on switching out of my pointe shoes for the dance, but I worked so hard all year and was looking forward to it. I'm fine en pointe in the dance except for those turns. Last night I just kept practicing from 4th to the degage to passé and keeping my balance.

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If you are not consistent in the classroom with anything you have to do onstage, it's not a good thing to do it. If you can do the turns on demi pointe, then I would seriously consider not wearing pointe shoes. I don't understand a piece that even allows some on and some off pointe, unless the ones on pointe are doing solos and the others are not.

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