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Ballet Talk for Dancers

pirouette question


Guest Medora

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When you place your legs and feet in preparation for a pirrouette, do they have to be perfectly turned out? When I turn them out all the way in preparation, I encounter the problem of turning one foot in right before I turn, and that throws the turn off. If I don't turn my feet out as much, then I don't have trouble. So what should I do? Which way is the right way?

 

Also, Ms. Leigh, could you explain the up-to do down-to go right-to go left- to go down to go up motion? I was browsing the other night and I read a post where you talked about this and I have not heard of it before. What does it mean and how do I apply it? Thanks! :rolleyes:

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If the foot that turns in is the supporting foot, especially in pirouettes en dehors, that's a pretty good sign that you may be forcing the turnout on that front foot, and have to work on the rotation of the legs more. One fair (i.e. no cheating) way to do that is to reduce the amount of turnout in the feet before the turn, and gradually increase it as rotation from the hip increases, as I know you are working on that in the rest of your class. This takes some time, but it produces better results than any short-cuts.

 

Now the other issue, I'll leave to Ms. Leigh, as she explains that theory of kinesiology so much better than I do. She'll be on later this evening.

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Actually Medora, there is no way I can deal with that tonight! :P I am not at home and have very limited time online. When I get back from the auditions this weekend I will try.

 

If your front foot is turning in before the pirouette, you have your body weight too far back. If you are busy using the plié correctly and pushing down into the front leg just before the relevé, then it should not swivel.

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Anecdote on just this topic: Around 1964, there was a sort of purge at NYCB, where dancers who couldn't do pirouettes without turning in the front foot either didn't get cast or were dropped from the company roster. It was at about this time that SAB began introducing the "Balanchine" preparation for pirouettes, with the tendu to second and going to fourth through first, and bending only the front leg. Most people got it, but some of the senior men in the company just didn't. They started finding themselves cast in more and more character parts or partnering roles where they didn't have to do many pirouettes, with only a few exceptions.

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Wow Ms. Leigh! I tried putting my wieght more forward and really planting my weight in my front foot, and I turned better! :) Of course it was only in my bedroom, and I always turn better in there than in the studio for some reason; don't ask me why. :rolleyes: I'll try to use that tomorrow in the studio, hopefully it will work.

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Medora, I simply can't do any more about that than I have already done. When you come for your audition I will help you with it. It's very easy to show and explain, but not easy here.

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