The Rock School’s 5 Tips for Perfect Pirouettes
At The Rock School for Dance Education we are as well-known for producing astounding, technically proficient dancers as we are for being the go-to place for perfecting pirouettes. Perfect pirouettes have always been a staple in our reputation, so much so that our students have nicknamed the studio, “Pirouettes R Us.” With our over 30 years experience in pirouettes, we’ve compiled the five most important essentials that, if followed, will have you turning just like a Rock School prima!
Some people seem to turn more easily, but everyone can turn given time, patience, intelligent hard work, and by implementing these five pirouette essentials:
#1. Calculate beforehand.
Placement is key. Spotting is an essential part of a pirouette and can easily throw off your turn if done incorrectly. Before you begin, decide where you are going to spot. Choose an eye-level point or object in the room to return your eyes to; changing your spot mid-term could be disastrous! Spotting too slowly or with too much force can disrupt the momentum. Pay attention to the musical rhythm of the turn and think of each rotation as a pearl on a necklace, each having a clear identity, defined by the spot.
#2. Listen to your body.
Core strength is critical. Knowing how to kinesthetically put all of the “body pieces” together, having the strength to keep your body in the “right” place, and being able to make minor adjustments during the turn all go in to the mix.
#3. Find your balance.
Analyze your pirouette from a physics perspective and what forces are necessary to maintain your balance. To stay on one leg, think about opposing energies, like a bow and arrow. One needs to feel the energy pushing down into a strong supporting leg while lifting the passé foot. Think of yourself growing taller to avoid sitting in your hip.
#4. Be bold.
Though turns do not require much force, do not approach the turn timidly. Begin in a proper position and get to the full height of your passé immediately while pressing through half pointe up to pointe. The roll through on and off pointe is very important. The direct and immediate action of the toe tip underneath the center of the body to passé must be light and quick. The toe of the passé foot pulling up from the passé with both heels working forward and the passé knee lifted high.
#5. Practice your timing.
Most important, and often forgotten, the “po-po” must lift at the same time as the toe, knee, and relevé. The coordination of the relevé foot and the passé foot must be immediate and together.
Whether on pointe or demi-pointe, we know you will succeed in mastering the perfect pirouette when you practice our five, time-tested, pirouette essentials that have made The Rock School the infamous, “Pirouettes R Us.”
Stephanie Spassoff & The Rock School dancer
Image Credit: The Rock School For Dance Education