Monday, June 8, 2015

Pirouette technique tip: using the floor

While watching my students turn the other day, I kept seeing one bad habit being repeated: dancers hopping up to releve or hopping around in their turns. This tells me they are not properly connected to the floor.

No matter which position you start your turn from - a long lunge, a demi-plie in fourth, fifth, or second, etc. - you need to quickly find your turning axis. This is like a long pole going through the top of your head all the way to the floor through your foot. It must be straight up and down or else you will not do more than one single decent pirouette.
Photo courtesy

Some students interpret "quickly" as "hastily" and they forget that pirouette is all about balance. Some hints for better body-floor connection:

1. Think of your foot pushing the floor away, especially if you are working in flat slippers rather than pointe.

2. Try to maintain contact with the floor at all times; do not hop or jump up to your releve.

3. Pull up both your quads and hamstrings on the support leg as if you were pulling up your tights.

4. Engage the derriere muscles of your support leg as you releve.

5. Imagine a pole going from the top of your head through your spine and into your toes. This is the position of your body you are trying to maintain during the turn.

Photo courtesy
Happy dancing~


Dianne Buxton said...

So important! I was actually taught to hop by a very famous ballet teacher! Took years to get over it.

Leigh Purtill said...

Taught to hop! Ack! Such a bad habit but glad you got over it!

Thanks for reading~