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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Argh, fouettes!! (But YAY pointe turns!)


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(Note to mods, I accidentally posted this on the Adult Buddy board, but intended to post here. My apologies, if the duplicate on the Buddy board could be deleted I'd appreciate it! :) )



Okay, first the YAY!! Yesterday we finally got around to pointework again after weeks of not having time, and boy oh boy was it the deep end, LOL. No barrework, no releves or rises, straight to across the floor turns. :blink: I wasn't the only one with a freaked out look, at least!


We did a series of assemble soutenu turns, into chaines. Now, mind you, before yesterday, we'd only done temps lie, echappes, and releves in center. No turns! But we did them! I still can't believe I did chaine turns without doing them at the barre first.


Then, she says, ok, pirouette! We're like Holy crap, WHAT?!? Now, she didn't MAKE us do it, but I figured what the heck, might as well try. And - I DID IT! I can't believe I did freaking PIROUETTES EN POINTE!! Soooo awesome. I love my pointe shoes sooo much, I might have them bronzed...... :wub:


Alrighty, now onto the ugly.....


Forgive the language, but, @^$%&! fouettes!!!


I'm SOOOO behind in turns in my class. The girls I'm with are finishing up their RAD intermediate year, and we'll be moving onto Adv Foundation soon, so it's not even in the RAD syllabus. But, they're all pretty advanced jazz dancers too, so they already know their fouettes.


Before this week, I'd never done a fouette in my life. Oie!!


So yes, I'm a big flail-y mess out there, and it's sooooo embarrassing when everyone else is flipping off 16-32, and I'm stumbling dizzily after a really badly hopped handful. UGH. Just when I thought I was starting to get into a bit of a groove with my double pirouettes, and, along come fouettes in every class. Siiiiigh.


I have two weeks off before fall classes start, and I'm bound and determined to learn these stupid fouettes. So. Here's my plan:


1. Practice the fouette motion without turning or releves, with just the free leg and arms.


2. Practice the fouette motion without turning, with releve.


3. Starting adding in a turn every 3-4 fouette motions.


4. Build up to more consecutive turns.


5. Do it on pointe! (hahahahaha just kidding!)


So, I'd love some feedback/advice? I think my problem was not kicking 'out' in front but just 'bringing' my leg around, so, no momentum. Ahhhh and all that damned hopping is going to be the death of me!


Any other helpful strengthening exercises for fouettes? (Someone mentioned a plank variation where you raise your knees on either side like a sideways slow mountain climber.) And, technique question too, is the free leg supposed to kick out in FRONT of you, or across the body?


Finally, so I don't feel quite so discouraged.....how long did it take you to build up to 16+ fouettes when you were first learning them??



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Silkmaiden, first of all, fouettés on pointe when you have never even done pirouettes on pointe before??? This is ridiculous. Fouettés are an advanced step, and on pointe, a more advanced step. Beginning or even Int. pointe students are not yet doing fouettés! :o Seriously, what is going on in those classes? I'm glad I'm not there to see what the students who have learned them in jazz are doing with them in ballet.


Slow down, back up, and learn to work on pointe in the center, and to do pirouettes first. Fouettés are pirouettes, but consecutive pirouettes, which means that you need to not only own a double pirouette on pointe, but you need to be able to do at least 16 consecutive relevés on pointe, on one foot and without turning, first. The next step would be consecutive single pirouettes from 5th, meaning the relevés are from two feet to one, and you should be able to do these well before you start even thinking about fouettés!


Trying to do moves like this without owning the technique to do them well will just build in all sorts of bad habits, which are really hard to correct.

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Eh? oh no Ms. Leigh, sorry for the confusion! :) No no no we didn't do fouettes en pointe!!!


We had a 1.5 hour technique class on demipointe (in softblocs, as per RAD). We did barre, then center, and in the centerwork there were fouettes - on demipointe only!


Then in the last 20 min of class, we did some pointework, which were the soutenu/chaine turns, and the single pirouettes from fourth on pointe.


Sorry for the misunderstanding, I'd be running away from the school too if they threw us right into fouettes on pointe! I was totally joking about fouettes en pointe, none of the girls at my level are doing that, only the Advanced 2 ladies. I don't expect to be doing fouettes en pointe for at least another year or two.

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Whew! Very glad to hear that, silkmaiden!

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Turns in general are my arch-nemesis right now. Every once and awhile I can do a nice, controlled double pirouette, but more often than not its kind of a mess, so I feel your pain! I can't do a fouette to save my life at the moment, either. I get frustrated because once upon a time I used to be able to do 32 in a row! And now I can't do ONE. :wallbash: Grumble. I like your plan of attack though. I remember when I was a teen, I used to practice the leg and arm motions a lot at home, and it finally clicked. I watched a lot of videos of dancers doing fouettes as well, to watch their legs and arms (I'm a very visual learner). I'm still trying to re-find my center/balance after those years of not dancing, which I think will eventually help some of my turning problems (turns out you can't turn well if you can't hold the balance, haha!)


As for the leg, I always thought it was to the front (not crossed), but I would not be surprised if I was wrong! I'm not at home to consult a book, so I hope someone else answers!

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Center? Hah! What is this mythical center of which you speak? Bah, it might as well be Leprechaun gold, as far as I'm concerned. Sigh.


At least you were able to do them before, I've never done them so I have no clue what I'm doing! I think too that it's supposed to be in front, but I see lots of Youtube vids where the dancer is opening up across her body, though that's probably not right. Plus I'm not sure if there's a technique difference between ballet and jazz fouettes, and I think most of the youtube clips are probably jazz.


I know that I'm definitely not feeling the plie, releve motion with the right timing yet. It's just hard because I'm the ONLY one in that class that's never done them so it's very lonely being the only one that sucks!

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Silkmaiden, gosh, you are moving fast! I know you had fairly intensive training as a teenager, but I think I'd be looking for a basic Beginner's or Advanced Beginner's class in addition to the Advanced syllabus class, because I really don't like having to scramble to learn something. Good technique in pirouettes is really important.


Personally (but if I'm anything, I'm a turner) I think that a pirouette is a fairly simple thing in terms of the mechanics of preparation and execution: there is a set order of what you do. Take the foot position, plié, rise into retiré (or other positions for grandes pirouettes), then turn making sure the propulsion for the turn comes through the body. If I get confused in a combination, it's that sequence I go back to in my head. And that's the way you learn it in the lower grades, with all those set exercises which have you making a relevé, then in retiré and so on.


But in that simple sequence is a whole world of complication, technique and refinement!

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Yeah I don't love my pirouette technique at the moment, LOL. I actually am adding a lower level class in the fall precisely so I can SLOW DOWN and refine my problem areas. It's hard on the ego, but it's good for my foundation!


Funnily enough, it's easier to pirouette on pointe then on demipointe. Weird, but I know I've read about other people that found that too.


My problem is, I tend to overanalyse and overthink to the point that I simply freak myself out before the turn even happens. My best pirouettes are the ones where I'm relaxed and going with the music and damn! There it is! So I CAN do them, I just get too wrapped up in all the little things and stress myself right out with nerves. I actually found that doing jazz classes helped because there were just sooooo many turns in jazz you kinda don't freak out over them anymore. My weakness is slow spotting, and losing my arms.....it's not that I don't know what to do, I just forget or let them get lazy, so it's mostly bad habits.

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