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Ballet Talk for Dancers

scared to do pirouettes


duckie9876

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Hi,

Just wanted to know if I was the only one -- is it just me or is it completely scary to do pirouettes in the center on pointe?

Tried to do en dedans pirouette and en dehor pirouettes, but my fear is preventing me from getting on my leg....is that silly or what?!?!?!

 

I'm just not really confident rising up on one leg -- and I am not sure if it's just a strength issue or not. I suspect that I'm so scared that I tend to "bail out" before I give myself a chance.

 

Is this something that comes with time and experience or is there some trick I could do to make it less scary?

 

Thanks.

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There's no trick, except to remember all the technical things about pirouettes when you do them en pointe. And take it easy! Most relative beginners try to kill pirouettes when they do them, and so knock themselves off-balance. Just practice and your confidence will grow.

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Guest beckster

I've not progressed to pirouettes on pointe yet, and I have to say that I find anything one-footed in the centre to be daunting. I am sure it is a time and strength issue - if one is not completely comfortable with releve passe in the centre then a pirouette is certainly not going to work. After all, that is the progression on flat - first you learn releve, then releve passe, then releve with a 1/4 turn and so on. The balance and the strength and the confidence all have to be in place before the pirouette is possible.

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I found the best exercise for overcoming this fear is to start on face, do a releve , bringing your leg to retire position and turn a quarter turn, balance, and come down. Repeat this, all the way around. So you have bascially done 4 quarter turns, ending with your last quarter turn to the front. Now, do the same exercise again, but this time turn one half. So you were facing the front, now turn so you are facing the back. Then repeat so you are facing the front again. When you feel happy doing those exercises on both legs. Just try the full turn.

 

Its better to get around even just half a turn correctly, than to go a full turn a feel awful. It should also build your confidence up.

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I've found that pirouettes en pointe at the barre are scarier than in the center. In the center, there's nothing to hit; the worst you can do is fall on the ground. And you don't have to try to reach out and grab something to stop your turn, which can throw your entire body off at the barre if you're not careful.

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Guest tournout

duck-meister...

 

It may be hard to tell if it’s psychological, strength related, or perhaps a little of both. If it is more psychological, you might try performing a few single pirouettes v. slowly when you get into the center before adagio – just to feel your legs underneath you without the bar and without feeling any “pressure” of hurrying into a turn prep position, performing a turn, and then moving quickly into another step. Hang in there; it'll come. Don't give up and good luck!

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You are definitely not the only one; I have a similar fear. My teacher will, on occasion, have us do the 4 quarters, 2 halves, 1 whole turn exercise and I find that even if I've done it before, I still approach it with great trepidation.

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Xena has good advice about going from 1/4-full turns in stages. I've got one pirouette on pointe down just fine, but am scared to try a double! I know the worst thing that could happen is that I'd fall on my face, but I'm still nervous! Any ideas for how to overcome this unrational fear? My goal is to have my double pirouettes (en dehors) on both right and left by Christmas.

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The trick to doing a double is..well its easier than doing a single believe you me. IF you can stay up in a releve passe for 10 seconds, then well you are well on your way to doing doubles and triples. You need faith in yourself. If you are getting consistent singles down, then you should be moving onto doubles. Only by practicing them ar e you going to accomplish them. Remember what it was like learning your first single pirouette? well its no different.

Just don't try and wind yourself up for a double. yOu think 'Ok so I need a bit more oomph for the double', and you launch yourself into it and fall flat. That doesn't work, and its why you will fail.

Also, don;t worry about falling over..did you ever worry about falling over when you were a kid? nope if you did you just got up and carried on.

Think of them as fun and a way of returning to your carefree childhood and you'll be great.

 

Again, you may only do a one and a quarter turn or a one and a half turn, but that is better than just your single isn't it?

so do the same exercise as above but instead of quarters, do one and one quarters, then one and a half turns.....

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Guest piccolo

A suggestion that has helped both my students and me -- stop thinking about the pirouette as an "up" motion. Instead, when you releve onto the one leg (and this goes for any releve on pointe on one leg), think about your standing leg drilling DOWN into the floor. I find that thinking about drilling my leg down into the floor makes my leg very straight, rotates my leg around, my ankle strong, and I feel very stable.

 

To further this idea, try breathing OUT when you releve/turn.

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These suggestions are good things; I especially like Xena's advice not to be afraid of falling over. In fact, I'll take it one step further: Dare to fall over! While this may sound draconian and harsh, think a moment. If you do fall, chances are you won't fall all the way down, and even if you do, the chances of actually hurting yourself are relatively small. Sometimes life asks us for a "leap of faith" - this is almost like that, only it's a "turn on faith". Be brave, go out there and dare!:)

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Guest fastfeets

Xena, I have to tell you that I had your post above in mind tonight when I bravely tried a simple pirouette en pointe tonight, and it worked beautifully! Honestly, just knowing it was as simple as a quarter turn would be had me brave enough just to do it. What came out was a 'not too bad' turn, and a very happy me (even though my feet aren't as happy with me as I am )

 

Sabrina

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Guest fastfeets

Thanks, Xena. I plan to. I've got a great support net, and I'm loving it, now. It's funny how I didn't think that much of it when I was in the thick of it so many years ago, but now I'm so appreciative and honored by what I'm surrounded with now. I love what I'm doing, despite the fact that I know I'm nowhere near good enough, and wont ever be 'the best'....i'm still happy with ME. I'm enjoying things like I never did years ago!

 

What I'd love to do with this now is show other people that age is of no consequence when it's in the heart. My heart is finally in it (and I dont care that it's too late in my life to make a stage career...i'm still loving it, FINALLY!!!).

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