When it comes to pirouettes, some dancers love them and some dancers fear them. For those of you who think Pirouettes are the delicious chocolate or vanilla filled cookie, we are using a fancy word for “whirl” or “turn” in dance language. So what can help you make your pirouette more successful? Here are some helpful hints to try:
1. Preparation is key! You wouldn't try to drive your car without putting your seat belt on and the key in the ignition, so why are you trying to just pull a pirouette out of thin air? However you prepare you need to make sure that BOTH heels are on the ground. Depending on whether you are in jazz class or ballet class, both feet either need to be parallel, or turned out. You shouldn't use a combination of the two, and your feet definitely should not be rotated inward. Make sure your shoulders are in line with your hips so your torso is aligned, and not twisted. Lastly, determine where you will be spotting!
2. Nice form! In keeping with the car analogy, let just say you wouldn't begin to drive your car with your seat reclined backward and your mirrors out of line. The same thing goes with your body. Your weight in your pirouette should be stacked up straight. You shouldn't be leaning back, or slouching forward. Your foot has to connect with your in passe, whether in parallel or while using your rotation. Lastly, your arms need to be placed wherever the choreography requires them to be placed!
3. Don't forget to spot! Keep your eyes on the prize! Texting and driving leads to accidents just like no spotting leads to falling out of your turn resulting in a poor landing. Without spotting, we all become unsure of where we are going, where we are landing, and even where exactly we are in the room. Spotting helps control your dizziness! Even if you are a natural turner, spotting helps perfect and clean pirouettes.
4. Land with pride! I recently watched a dancer execute 32 beautifully placed and controlled fouette turns. Any dancer knows that this is a hard task to accomplish. I was extremely excited for her and knew she was going to do it, until she landed. She threw her placement threw her arms, and just walked out of her turns. I was heartbroken. I no longer could congratulate her on her accomplishment. Just like the preparation is part of the turn, the landing is also important. A strong landing leaves a lasting impression. You wouldn't bake a batch of cupcakes and then not put icing on top. It wouldn't complete the cupcake! When you turn, you have to land; with confidence, with control, and with pride that you just accomplished something that was difficult!
Next time you practice your pirouettes don't fear them. Whether or not you are going to do a single, double or triple should not be a guessing game. With these four steps, you can set yourself up for success and soon be turning with ease!