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 Post subject: pirouette class
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 7:01 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2003 11:01 pm
Posts: 287
Location: Australia
Hi there. I am needing to construct a full length class from go to woe which will teach adult beginners the concept of pirouette. Any idea's? for example I will be looking at particular exercises both during warmup, barre, centre practice etc. visualisations, history or the pirouette, anatomy etc etc etc. would appreciate any/all help. cheers :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 8:35 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2003 11:01 pm
Posts: 74
Location: paris
Hi !
our teacher begins by pirouettes à la cinquième , quarter turn, half turn, and then full turn
loads of relevés at the barre;
I see you're in Australia : a friend of mine would like to find classes in Brisbane , do you have any suggestions ? Thanks very much


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 3:18 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 652
Location: Seattle, WA. USA
As with all of my ballet students, I like to get them turning -- just plain turning first -- before trying pirouettes. It's a great way to build up to what we think of as a simple pirouette. In the center, how about having them try waltz and/or balancé turns.

Here's just one example, which I do in Pointe class, but works well in regular class.

1) Facing the barre, make piqué sous-sus (either by making relevé from 5th position or by stepping to the barre from attitude à terre, aka, B+).

2) Make sur-le-cou-de-pied.

3) Make passé.

4) Make a promenade en de hors (yes, you'll have to reach around yourself).

5) Come back to sous-sus.

6) Return to either 5th position or to attitude à terre. (If attitude à terre, then I have students take a step back, going through 4th position, finishing some distance away from the barre. This makes them really have to work and use their muscles and some effort to get to the barre. Teaches moving/traveling, and it *feels* like your moving/traveling, too! And you can challenge them to now only move but to use their feet well, by working through them, placing them and turning them out, with the weight over the balls of the feet.)

Start with holds at each step (passé -- hold, hold; promenade -- hold, hold). Repeat left. And then after a while, have them repeat it en de dans.

Another great one to do at the barre, is to have them do piqué turns while still facing the barre and traveling de côte (sideways). In other words, they'll be travelling down the barre. A classic combination is: 3 with no turn and 1 with a turn. Passé is behind the knee, spot is to the barre. All with holds or "stays" at first. (Piqué 1, hold 2-4. Then build to piqué 1, hold 2.)

Have turn simple barre combinations or with specific exercises like: tendu back (inside leg), make a fouetté, turning in the direction of the tendu foot, close 5th, hold. Repeat left.

Or have them *just* turn from side to side, without even getting fancy with terms like soutenu or even on relevé. Have them try, if their right foot is front, just turning quickly left toward the barre and have them finish w/the left foot in front (pivot left, pivot right). Seems simple, yes? :shock:

You could also try something fun like have them do the plié combination this way: first position (R & L); second position (R & L); etc.

In center, try rond de jambes à terre with 1/4 turn for each RDJ, using either the walls or corners for the completing point of each. Eventually, have them try this en de *dans.*

For barre and/or center: parallel passés and then promenade them. Parallel at first, then turned out.

Hope some of this helps! I suggest being creative but always try to tell your adult students WHY you're having them try something. It helps them understand better what it is you're trying to get them to do and give them a measurable goal. Best wishes for happy teaching! 8)

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Dean Speer
ballet@u.washington.edu


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 Post subject: Lame Duck Club
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 5:45 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1876
Location: New England
Maybe your students could join the Lame Duck Club ;)


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 5:47 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2003 11:01 pm
Posts: 287
Location: Australia
Hi there. Thanking you all very much for your responses. very much appreciated. just out of curiosity though Citibob, what on earth is the Lame Duck Club? That is a new one for me (this old duck would love to know) :wink:


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 5:49 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 20, 2005 11:38 pm
Posts: 8
Releve in 5th and releve devant doing a 1/4 turn (turning right - full circle, then rpt to left). Pirouettes at the barre are great and can be varied by finishing in different positions.

RAD has a character exercise called jumps with eye focus which encourages the student to turn the head to the new direction before the body gets there. The younger students do this from downstage left corner to downstage right corner and back and forth, but you could do it to all four corners. The next level up jump from en face to the back (1/2 turn) head first then body and then from back of room to en face. Example face downstage left corner feet parallel hands on waist. 2 small bounces/pulses counts 1&2 on next & count turn head to downstage right corner and count 3 jump to corner stretch on count 4 repeat back to downstage left. Build up to a full tour (great for boys) and helps them develop balance and co-ordination. I have also removed the plie in the preparation for en dehors turns. Example degage right foot to second close in back, then degage derriere and prepare in fourth (no plie) immediatley prior to turning a quick release into plie and turns are instantly better. The plie in the preparation (sometimes holding for a whole count) makes the student "sit" thus the centre line is already affected with butt sticking out or weight on back heel. The feeling of growing 'tall' and remaining 'tall' does wonders for lengthening the spine and is limited once the student 'sits' in the preparation plie with weight too far back. I also discourage hopping in the pirouette as this alters the line and centre. I would much rather them fall out of the pirouette so they can see and feel where their body is falling you can't do this when you are hopping during the pirouette. Hopping also becomes a bad habit and can take a long time to break in some students so have them resist hopping.

Finally have some fun. Many students groan & moan or tense up as soon as you mention the word pirouette. Give them ideas such as holding a beach ball and pressing it into their stomachs under their ribs. Saying 'weeeeeee' as they turn makes them laugh so they relax and turn easily and asking them to smell the hint of perfume in the air (deep breathing thru the nose naturally lengthens the spine). Try it now while you are sitting here I guarantee it works. Hope this helps.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 1:23 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 28, 2003 12:01 am
Posts: 10
An exercise I have my students do to help them with the landing aspect is to do pirouettes without putting their passe foot down to stop the turn. So, they might do a pirouette from second or fourth, and the only thing that stops the turn is the lowering of the heel from releve. They must then balance with their passe leg still in passe, and their standing leg in plie. This ensures that they are not collapsing their upper body at the end of the turn, and also that they are not using the passe leg as a brake to stop the turn. It is very good training for pointe-work, when students often "clunk" down from full pointe and slam their passe foot down to stop the turn. I prefer to see a more graceful rolling down from pointe to stop the turn, and the passe foot gently lowers down after the turning has stopped.

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