Dear CBT: Help Me With My Turns!

Dear CBT,

I need help turning. My pirouettes are a fail. I can never get the right amount of force and my leg to passé fast enough or my arms in tight enough. Don’t get me started about pirouettes (or any turn for that matter) on pionte. I’m at my wits end! Help!!!

Don’t fret! Quarter and half turns from fifth and fourth are a great exercise for this. Focus on opening your eyes all the way and truly focusing the eyes on an spot or item when you are quickly spotting. See this fabulous instructional video from guru Finis Jung for visual help on that: Then work on coordinating the leg and arms to meet the speed and precision of that spotting style. Also, check out my post on pirouettes from winter before last, as true today as it was then.

Remember that quality in a quarter or half turn will become quality in a single and so forth. You have to start small and work your way up, so be patient. Getting ahead of yourself in revolution numbers will not pay off if the turn is not good quality from start through finish. Now go have fun improving your turns!

One thought on “Dear CBT: Help Me With My Turns!

  1. besoindedanser says:

    Hello, I just found out your blog and I think it is amazing!
    I just wanted to share another trick that my teacher taught me when I was learning to do my pirouettes. The first question that arises is: where should I put my arms?
    The first times I was trying to make a proper turn my arms seemed a heavy burden which I had to carry with me. The solution: get rid of them! When you want to do your pirouette, try to grab your shoulders with both your hands, pushing your elbows out. It is a good position because for the time being you can focus on balance rather than your arms position (which is less important when you’re starting) and it prevents you from closing your chest (it does happen a lot, especially if you’re afraid of falling).
    The second trick is very useful when you see that your bent knee just won’t stay open. A very important thing you need to know is that if you want to get those turns, you will have to push that knee backwards. But how? Instead of pointing the foot underneath your straight knee, you should try to have your heel under the knee with your foot flexed (it will feel like being the dancing doll in “Coppélia” at first). The bent knee will then be closer to you and you will have more strength to push it backwards.
    Hope this was helpful and good luck with your pirouettes!

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