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Ballet Talk for Dancers

piqué turns


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Last night we had a discussion in class whether in piqué turns the lifted foot should be in front or behind the knee of the standing leg. 

I've googled but so far I 've seen only foot behind.

What is your opinion on this? 



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Grandad dancer

In the 3 different classes I take, the foot is always behind the leg in pique turns. 

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It also depends if it is pique en dehors or en dedans; the most common being en dedans, where the foot is placed (usually) in the back. The en dehors one is often called "lame duck", and there the foot is (usually) in front. 


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My teacher typically would say: iI depends on the choreographer and choreography itself . 

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Victoria Leigh

Piqué  en dedans is normally done with the foot back, but in the Danish School they do use a front position, however it is a cou de pied en avant, not a retiré position.  Piqué en dehors is  done with the foot in retiré front. 

(Diane, I so wish that term 'lame duck' was not used. I can handle 'step over pirouette' but not lame duck! I do, however, tell my students sometimes, when they are making the tombé into the next turn on a very straight leg that it looks like a lame duck!  :rolleyes::o ) I also often wonder if that is how it got the name! 

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I hate the term lame duck. I always just say step over pirouette.

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Unfortunately "lame duck" seems to be totally accepted in UK, I have rarely heard it called by its proper name. I presumed the question was about piqué en dedans.  There is an old snippet of film on Youtube or other media, of Ninette de Valois observing a senior class at the Royal Ballet School where the students are performing these turns with the foot in pirouette position devant, higher than cou de pied, but possibly not as high as often seen today.  If I remember correctly it would probably be in 1950s or early 1960s going by the white tunics.

I found the clip quite easily.  If link not permitted, please delete.  The diagonal of turns is at about 1.20.

Princess Margaret visits Royal Ballet School - 1957

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I've never seen it done to the front of the knee. I may just challenge the advanced class to do so. Yes "lame duck" is horrible.... but quicker to say than pique tour en de dans, 

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Nothing really to add but your post just reminded me of the "instructional video" Vanity Fair did with Elle Fanning, How to Do a Ballet Turn, featuring something like a lame duck/pique with the foot in front. :speechless:

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Thanks a lot for your answers. We do them en dehors, so foot front is correct. 


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Yeah, Lame Duck is what it was often called during my training in London; and it is even often called that in German. ("lame Ente") I also do not think it is an ideal name, and I do not use it when teaching, but it is quick to say. :)

And, yes, of course it depends on the choreography and what is wanted at the time, though with more beginning dancers one generally does not give too many variations on a theme all at once. :D 


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wijnmoer, you may want to double check with your instructor about whether you are working on piqué turns en dedans or en dehors - it's been my experience that most students learn these turns en dedans far earlier than en dehors.

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I believe I have only heard "lame duck" in my jazz classes.

And I have only ever executed pique tours en dehors in sequence with en de dans with each as a half turn in ballet, myself.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My Cecchetti teacher insists on retiré devant when doing piqué turns.

His reasoning is that if you knock a toe into the knee joint in from the back it's very easy to bend the supporting leg and fall out of the turn. Especially with a hard toe box if en pointe.

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