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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Psyching out


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Hi, I know I have posted something related to this before but I have two questions. The problem:

I recently made a post about having problems turning on pointe. I took some videos of myself turning in my hard shank Grishkos (bricks) and noticed that I was kind of jumping up/turning in right before the turn. I have noticed that even when I feel my shoes go soft and squishy, they rarely break in against my arch. I asked my mom to send me some mediums for my SI. I then proceeded to break these in a lot!!!! Water on the sides, stepping on box, breaking with my hand, and stretching my arch against each other in the shoe. I might've gone a little bit overboard, but after all of this, they felt like my friends brand new suffolks (which she had let me try), they made my feet look much better (I have spent a lot of time stretching my feet, so they are flexible but I have medium arches and barely an instep), and I felt like I could get to releve by rolling through/springing rather than hopping up onto my shoe.

However, I still can't get my triples+ on pointe. I know that it doesn't really matter how many turns you can do, but it's very frustrating to me because I consider myself a turner. I am very consistent on both sides on flat, and I don't know why I can't do it on pointe. I'm convinced it's some kind of mental block; I get scared because I'm on pointe, and my spot slows. If I aim for a double, i can do it cleanly. But if I am aim for anything else, sometimes I throw myself off even before the second rotation!!

I know people with very messy technique who can easily whip off three or more, and I know pirouettes are largely an issue of coordination, but I'm so frustrated with myself, especially because this is a recent problem. Sometimes they came and went like pirouettes will do based on the day, but now that my pirouettes on flat are so consistent, I feel like I need to my turns on pointe back!! There's an added pressure because I don't have the best legs and feet, so I feel like the only way I can prove myself in auditions/general is by having the best extensions or most turns...but clearly I'm far from that right now :wallbash: In addition to multiple turns on pointe, I also have been stopping myself on fouettes. For example, I know I can do clean doubles, but if there is a fouette, I anticipate and start hopping before I extend the leg. This was never a problem in the past. I even have videos of myself doing good fouettes!

I don't know how to untrain myself from having this weird fear/bad habits..I feel like a figure skater who's lost a jump. Is there anything I can think of before I turn to stop myself? I'm thinking that I should stop practicing during downtime because I will only get more stressed. Also, I was wondering if it would help to stop aiming for more than a double and instead just try to be clean and spot and see what happens...On the other hand, when I turn on flat, I have a certain number in mind so I can adjust how quickly I will spot, so I don't know if this will help or hurt.

Finally, how big a role do shoes play in turns? Should one be able to do turns in very hard/new shoes? How much of getting up to the turn is pushing down versus springing. I feel like when I roll up too much, I turn in, but if I go straight up from my fourth by springing more, I'm off balance.

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Sometimes setting goals is a good thing, but not always. Improving pirouettes is always a goal, but by improving I'm talking quality, not quantity. Putting quantity first is certainly going to cause you stress, which causes excess tension, which causes things to go very wrong. Ballet is not a competition like skating. There are no scores involved here. Even a skater who pulls off triple jumps is not going to win on those alone. The quality of the whole program counts. You are putting way too much stress on the number of pirouettes, over-thinking them, pushing too hard. You said " Also, I was wondering if it would help to stop aiming for more than a double and instead just try to be clean and spot and see what happens". My answer to that is yes! Relax, breathe, enjoy turning and take the focus off of the numbers! :)

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