Some More Insight Into My Crappy Pirouettes

While the exception of the somewhat rare good turning day, I consistently struggle to do cleanish pirouettes – still.  Quarter pirouettes, half pirouettes, no problem – it’s only when I go for a full revolution that my pirouettes fall short (except for those previously-mentioned good turning days, but even then, if I make it all the way around it doesn’t mean my landing will look pretty).

In class at New Studio we were working on pirouettes, both standalone pirouettes and pirouettes in the middle of a combination (which I mentioned a few months ago are more likely to work out).  It was definitely not one of those good turning days.  However, I was able to come out of class with some ideas of where exactly the problem lies in my technique when it comes to pirouettes.

NS Teacher corrected me on losing my turnout mid pirouette, on my working leg. It reminded me that I have received this correction before, but I have no idea how to go about applying it.  In the instant before going for the pirouette there are so many things I’m thinking about like remember the foot in passe goes to the front of the knee, and remember to pull up, and remember to engage your core/lats. And I’m so focused on these things that apparently about mid-way through the pirouette my working leg’s turnout muscles relax enough that I’m not turned out anymore.  Or maybe the rest of me turns but my leg decides to stay behind? I do wonder if that may be a big part of the reason why my pirouettes suck…

Also, one of my classmates pointed out to me that my supporting leg bends a little bit. Apparently I start out going up in a high passe releve, but sometime around the middle of the turn I bend my supporting leg slightly. I had absolutely no idea that I do this. It may happen around the time my working leg loses it’s turnout. She also pointed out that I’m not spotting.  This I did know, as I still struggle to spot during pirouettes.  When doing pique turns, chaines, soutenus, or other turns that travel it’s much easier for me to spot, so I’m not sure why I find it incredibly hard to spot during pirouettes.

The rest of class wasn’t quite so discouraging though 🙂

At barre we worked on fouette (not the turns from the Black Swan coda in Swan Lake, (thankfully, as I’d probably go flying across the studio then!) ), which involved having our leg extended out in front of us andthen quickly pivoting 180° towards the barre so that we’re facing the other side with our leg out in arabesque.  Then in center we worked on a different move that NS Teacher also referred to as fouette.  This time we were standing in fifth croisse, then tendu devant, then fouette which meant that we quickly turned around (towards our back leg) so that we were now facing croisse in the opposite direction with our other foot already tendu out in front of us.  When NS Teacher demonstrated it looked so hard! But then we tried it a few times and it was one of those things that looks way more deceptively harder than it actually is.  The rest of the combination had the same looks-hard-but-try-it-and-it’s-not-so-bad feel actually. After the fouette, we pique-stepped onto the foot that was out in front and closed the back leg into sous-sus, then brought  the front foot up to passe releve and down the back of the leg to fourth position, then pirouette en dehors from 4th.  This combination made me feel really good about my progress because stuff like bringing the foot up to passe releve from sous-sus used to be way past my current skill level, so I’m definitely improving. Of course, the pirouette portion of the combination was the sloppiest part…

We also did a tombe, pas de bourre, chasse, lunge, pirouette, repeat across the floor combination. It was fun, and felt almost graceful. And by this point my body was somewhat cooperating on the pirouettes, at least.

2 thoughts on “Some More Insight Into My Crappy Pirouettes

  1. meetatbarre

    I definitely also lose my turnout in my pirouettes. It’s been something I’ve been trying to work on, but as you said, there’s so much other stuff to think about!

    I find spotting in chaine turns the hardest…I usually wind up quite dizzy doing these! Because we do pirouettes en face often, I always just think of looking at myself in the mirror! Vanity 😉

    1. kit Post author

      Hmmm, with chaines once I have the “rhythm” down of half turn – spot – half turn – spot I do ok, though if it’s all the way across the enormous studio (like 25 chaines in a row!) I do lose my rhythm somewhere in the middle. Those times I need to stop completely and start chaines-ing from scratch again. But when it’s, say, 6-10 or so chaines I get through it ok.
      The thing about pirouettes is that I’ll be looking in the mirror and then I’ll be so focused on all the other stuff that I forget that I’m even supposed to be spotting, not to mention that the “rhythm” I feel during traveling turns isn’t there. So either I will look in the mirror and forget to turn my head at all (which probably keeps me from getting around) , or I’ll whip my head around immediately the moment I go up in passe releve. Either way, not good…


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