10 Tips for Perfect Pirouettes
You simply can’t have enough tips for ballet pirouettes. Improvements can always be seen, no matter how many turns you are working on. See a few tips below to help get your turns on track to perfection.
- Preparation: Most pirouette practice happens before you even try a turn. Your core, one legged balances, ankles and turn out have to be strong and ready to hold the proper position during barrre and when dancing center.
- Nerves: They really can get the best of you. Before push off, you may start to feel nervous. The best thing to do is visualize the perfect pirouette and believe in the preparation you have done. This will give you the confidence needed to do well.
- Look Effortless: Making it look easy is easier said than done. There are things you can do to give an effortless quality to your turns. Arrive to the retiré position quickly into a high relevé. Breathe out as you turn and take your time as you close your arms into first position.
- No Twisting: It is important not to twist the torso when turning. The shoulders should remain right over the hips. Imagine you are drilling the supporting leg through the floor like a screw to get optimal traction.
- Stretched Supporting Leg/Hip Down: If you hip is lifted or your supporting knee is bent, it can throw off the supporting leg. It is common to think of lifting the thigh to pirouette position instead, think of your foot lifting up to the knee, to keep your hip down. While that is happening, be sure to drill down that supporting leg to keep it lengthened.
- Hug a Ball: The rib cage and arms have a huge roll in a good pirouette. Think of wrapping your arms around a large beach ball and give it a squeeze as you turn, this will engage the ribs and arms while in first position. Activating the back muscles will give energy to the turn.
- Spotting: This is very important for your turns. Spotting means to whip the head and focus the eyes which precede the body to prevent dizziness. The weight and mass of your head can add momentum for multiple turns.
- Make it Float: Tension is the true enemy of turning. Be careful not confuse tension with strength. You will gather a force of energy to launch the turn, but once you’ve released the turn, you want to relax and float around.
- Land with Lift at the End: At the end of the turn, life in the torso (keep shoulders down) and lengthen. This will help you to land gracefully with control.
- Repetition: Practice makes perfect! In order to achieve the most beautiful pirouettes, you must practice every day. Mastery and artistry comes from repetition.
It can take many years to master the technique and strength it needs to be a strong turner. However, with practice and dedication the sky is the limit. As you know, dance has limitless boundaries to how far you can go. It’s just a matter of perseverance, hard work and preparation.