CriticalDance Forum

Pirouette Advice
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Author:  MissJan [ Wed May 02, 2001 7:17 am ]
Post subject:  Pirouette Advice

Hello all! I'm having troubles with pirouettes, I keep losing my balance.. dunno what I'm doing wrong, if y'all can give me any advice on pirouettes, how to execute them perfectly, etc etc it would be great!!<P>Sincerly,<BR>Jan<P>------------------<BR>Teaching Today Touches Tomorrow!<BR>

Author:  Elise [ Wed May 02, 2001 8:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pirouette Advice

I have found in the past that when I have a real balance problem and "fall out" of my pirouettes, it is largely due to not pulling up. When I concentrate, I realize that though my preparation may be great, once I begin to move my body relaxes and things cave in. I had the same problem in figure skating spins years ago. It takes a lot of concentration to keep your spine lengthened, until it finally becomes second nature. (Does that day ever come?). I found two things that helped immensely, first, I elevated my spot a few inches. Instead of looking straight ahead at eye level, I look slightly up. That helps to keep my chin up. If your head is looking down, the rest of you will follow. Also, read the thread Basheva posted on breathing through your dance. The timing of the breathing during pirouettes made a huge difference in mine. My balance is better, and the turn feels more effortless-- less clenched up. I assume this is translating into a more fluid and effortless look because that is certainly the way that it feels. I think in my effort to stay tall and pulled up during the turn, I tended to tighten every muscle and it felt very tense. With the breathing technique, my body feels relaxed, but very tall. Give it a try!

Author:  Basheva [ Wed May 02, 2001 8:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pirouette Advice

Elise is giving you very good advice, Jan, about not letting your body slump during the pirouette. It also makes a difference in which way you are falling off balance. If you are falling backwards, that usually means that as you are rising to demi-pointe you are aiming backwards toward your heel. You have to rise going forward. So falling off balance forward is better than falling off balance going backwards.<P>You also need to take the pirouette apart and looks at its components. Do the preparation, then rise in retiré, and just stay there. Can you stay up there for a second or two? If not you won't be able to stay up for the pirouette either. And when you start to topple - which way do you go?<P>Here are a couple of threads you might want to read - the one Elise mentioned - and two more:<P><BR><A HREF=../../../ubb/Forum7/HTML/000264.html><B>BREATHING THROUGH YOUR DANCE</B></A><P><BR><A HREF=../../../ubb/Forum7/HTML/000274.html><B>PLACING THE PIROUETTE</B></A><P><BR><A HREF=../../../ubb/Forum7/HTML/000278.html><B>SPOTTING THE TURN</B></A><P>then after you have read - come back and ask some more questions. I find pirouettes quite fascinating.<P><BR>

Author:  Basheva [ Wed May 02, 2001 6:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pirouette Advice

In answer to your question, Elise - about a pirouette ever becoming second nature...for me the answer is "no".<P>Even after all these years, I have to give it thought. I have to give it less thought if it is a fast turn, but if I want to do a slow, controlled beautifully finished pirouette (and the beauty of the pirouette is in the finish) then I have to be aware of all the parts. <P>I find pirouettes a very delicately balanced thing - cyclical through the month (hormonaly speaking) and usually the first symptom I have that I will be getting a cold or flu. Pirouettes are an indicator for me.<P>When I first get to class and I am doing gentle warmup things, one of the things I do is a pirouette warmup. I do a careful preparation, and then finish the pirouette with my standing heel acting as the brake (keeping the lifted leg in retiré) and I see where that balance is. Whether I am leaning to the left or the right - backwards or forwards. It also tells me how the floor is that day. On a humid day the floor is different than on a dry day. A slow floor or a fast floor.<P>So as I prepare for class - I am also warming up my balance, and seeing where my natural "inclination" is that day. I find it not only changes day to day, but mornings are different from evenings.<P>So, no, it is never second nature for me. What has changed over the years, is that I am fairly confident of the outcome, but I never take it for granted.

Author:  Elise [ Sat May 05, 2001 6:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pirouette Advice

Basheva,<BR>I haven't decided whether or not to be depressed or reassured that even after years of practice pirouettes are not a given LOL!<P>My teacher uses the same technique you described for a pirouette combination. First we do two preparations on each side, where we come up to retire and hold the balance without turning. Then we add the turn, alternating sides. He wants us to do one turn, use the heel of the standing foot as a break, and come down into fifth in a controlled manner before beginning the pirouette on the other side. I used to get frustrated doing the same boring thing over and over (the combination is never altered). But I did notice that when new people came to class who could do doubles or triples and land in fourth, they had real difficulty with the controlled single pirouette landing in fifth. So I decided there was definately merit in continuing our combination until I had mastered the control I needed a little better.

Author:  Basheva [ Sat May 05, 2001 7:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pirouette Advice

Elise - the true brake for the pirouette is in the standing heel. There is a very good reason for this. <P> It is possible that you might have to do a combination wherein the pirouette ends in an arabesque, or attitude (front or back) or (heaven help us) a la seconde. Therefore you would only have one foot to come down on - the other would be extended in one of those other positions.<P>So it is a very valuable lesson to learn - and useful too. It shows where the true control lies. You have a very wise teacher, Elise.

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