I was recently asked about some tips on how to improve at multiple pirouettes. I know that lots of students are wanting to know the same thing, so here is my answer:
1. Engaging your abdominal/core muscles is necessary for maintaining good alignment during the turn.
2. Every turn is a balance, so work on balancing in the position in which you want to turn (retiré, a la seconde, etc.)
3. Spot and keep your eyes off the floor (or that’s where you’ll end up).
4. Use only enough push to get around – sometimes a dance student’s biggest downfall in pirouettes is pushing so hard that they throw the turn off.
5. Connect your arms to your back – you should feel width between the shoulder blades and the arms should maintain their position (don’t “wind-up” for a turn)
6. Take off from a properly placed and wide plié for power in the turn.
7. Strengthen your ankles supporting the relevé – if you are wobbly, sickled, or pronated, this will ruin your turn.
8. Make a choice to come down from the turn, don’t let gravity make the choice for you.
9. Visualize yourself doing a beautiful, clean pirouette – it really does help!
Pirouettes are not an easy movement. Anyone can whip themselves around but it takes years of practice (plus a good deal of strength) to perform a proper pirouette. Work hard at the barre and in centre on the fundamentals (plié, relevé, etc.) And, work on getting a good, clean single pirouette first (with a strong grasp on the elements above), then progress to multiples. Don’t give up! If you are working hard, applying your teacher’s corrections, and not letting self-doubt psych you out, you will be able to do multiple pirouettes.
What we hope ever to do with ease, we must first learn to do with diligence.
What are some other tips that you can offer or have been given to you? What do you find most difficult about pirouettes?
Nichelle Suzanne is a writer specializing in dance and online content. She is also a dance instructor with over 20 years experience teaching in dance studios, community programs, and colleges. She began Dance Advantage in 2008, equipped with a passion for movement education and an intuitive sense that a blog could bring dancers together. As a Houston-based dance writer, Nichelle covers dance performance for Dance Source Houston, Arts+Culture Texas, and other publications. She is a leader in social media within the dance community and has presented on blogging for dance organizations, including Dance/USA. Nichelle provides web consulting and writing services for dancers, dance schools and studios, and those beyond the dance world. Read Nichelle’s posts.