Most often, when students ask for help with their pirouettes, they are asking about en dehors or "outside" turns. But there are so many other types of turns to work on! Like one of my favorites, the pirouette en dedans or "inside" turn.
An en dedans pirouette refers to a turn in which the movement of the body is toward the standing leg, rather than away from it, as in an outside turn. As always, there are different schools of thought when it comes to turn preparation. Some instructors teach an inside turn with a fondu a la seconde before the snap to retire. Others, like me, teach a straight snap up to retire from the fourth position.
Here are my general guidelines when teaching en dedans pirouettes:
1. Start in a long lunged fourth position. Most of the weight is on the front leg which is bent into a deep demi-plie. The back leg is very straight and the heel is pressed into the floor.
2. The arm preparation is "same arm same leg." In other words, if the left leg is in front in fondu, then the left arm is curled into 3rd position. The right arm is held to second position.
3. Some teachers ask students to open their front arm, to lead with it, but I prefer that you keep the arm curled in front of you and then snap the second-position arm in to meet it at the moment that you snap the leg into retire.
4. Take an extra deep demi on the front leg as you push off the floor with the back foot. Try to avoid hiking the hip in an effort to bring the leg under you. Remember: the deeper the demi, the more time you have to bring the back foot up to your knee.
5. Simultaneously snap the open arm in to the closed arm as you bring the back foot to the front of the knee of the standing leg and push up into releve. Toes at the front of the knee always. Always. It is very rare that you will bring the toe to the back of the knee, although it may be choreographed that way.
6. Most often your pirouette en dedans will be a 1.5 turn. In other words, you will likely be turning from one croise position to another croise rather than en face or efface. Keeping this in mind, be sure to spot 1.5 turns from where you start, not just one.
7. Try to keep the toe at the front of the knee and slide it down through sousous before finishing in 5th position. Very rarely you will finish in a 4th position although that is possible (see below).
Happy dancing and turning!