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Question about pirouettes

Guest MarysMom

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Guest MarysMom

A question from a beginner dancer!!

Ok...we started pirouettes (sp??) this week in class. Everyone in the class had done them before, except for me! Therefore, we did not spend much time on them. I am confused about the outside and inside pirouettes...I keep getting them mixed up. I always turn the wrong direction or on the wrong foot. I make it around easily, but it is never the right one! I do ok in class, cause I can watch someone else, but on my own, I can't remember which is which! I would really like to figure out the difference before my next class, so that I don't continue practicing them wrong! Any advice for these would be great! Thank you in advance!!

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OK, easy one!


En dedans means "inside". The turn is in the direction that the toe of the supporting foot is pointing when à terre. En dehors means "outside" and turns in the direction that the heel of the supporting foot is pointing. Inside=toward the supporting leg, outside=away from the supporting leg.

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Hi Marysmom (I was writing this at the same time Mjr, Johnson was so sorry if I have repeated anything he has said )


Ok I'll give it a go, hopefully I won't confuse and if I do then hopefully someone else may be able to.


OK, what you need to try and understand first is that you can do pirouettes en dehors or en dedans.

En dehors means that you turn away form your supporting leg and en dedans mean that you turn towards your supporting leg.


So a simple en dehors piroeutte..you would start right leg front for example, degage the right leg out to second, your arms should be open in second also, as you now bring your right leg back to where you started from, you fondu so you have a small demi plie in fifth position. Your arm should now be in third postion (i.e. your right arm is as if it was in first position, but your left arm is out to second still). Then you releve on your left foot, bringing your right leg up to retire position (i.e. just under the knee), as you do that your left arm comes around to meet your right arm and you turn. (to the right). If its your left foot in front, you would turn to the left. The idea is to keep your eyes fixed on an object and as you turn you look at that object for as long as youcan, then turn your head quickly so you had your eyes off the object for a split second. That is called spotting and it helps you get around.


SO you see, your left leg is the supporting leg and you are turning away from it.


Where you doing any pirouettes from what is called an open fourth position?:)

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Guest MarysMom

You should see me standing in front of my computer reading these and trying them on the carpet!! HAHAHA!! Glad I'm the only one home! This makes much more sense to me now!Thank you so much for your help!!

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Guest beckster

My problem is that en dedans FEELS like an outside turn! It doesn't help that at my childhood rhythmic gym club we called it an "outwards spin". My way of remembering which way to turn is to think about my arms. In a standard pirouette preparation you always turn towards the arm that's in first, and the arm in second has to catch up with it. I do like the toes and heels rule though Mjr Mel.

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A few good 'rule of thumb':

- you always turn on the front leg (you don't shift your weight backwards to turn... Always towards the front foot)

- An en-dedans pirouette is usually started with one leg plié front, and the leg at the back straight (lounge forward); an en-dehors pirouette, both legs would be plié in a small fourth position (although some methods would have one leg straight... I hope it's not your method, otherwise, that would be confusing ;) )

- an en-dehors pirouette, you'll need to be conscious about your knee going back -the one that goes to the other knee!- (otherwise, it will wrap you around like a spinning top); an en-dedans pirouette needs to push the supporting leg open (otherwise, you end up with an ugly looking 'in' leg also called 'en-dedans' in French! Ah! Same name as the pirouette, how easy is that? Not! ah, ok!)

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