Have you been falling out of your pirouettes lately? Don’t give up!

It can be super frustrating to get your turns perfect and especially difficult when you’re not sure what the problem is. Let’s face it, learning to do a pirouette may look easy when a professional ballerina is doing five or six at the snap of a finger, but when you’re learning how to do them yourself, if you can’t complete them it can get very discouraging. It takes a lot of concentration and awareness of your body to do them correctly, so there’s no shame in not having an effortless turn just yet. All it means is that you need to build up your strength and keep going!

Exercises to Improve Your Pirouettes

Relevé Passé

Relevé from fifth position and squeeze up into passé and return to fifth position twice. Draw a line up your leg, keeping your hip down, just like you would as if you were completing a turn! Then tendu side three times, plié second, and balance in passé. Repeat this twice, and on the second try, do a turn! Keep your spot the whole time and be sure to squeeze as you go up in relevé. If you notice yourself lifting the hip, or if you’re having trouble spotting this might be an exercise you do often to help perfect your turns. 

Hold Your Passé

This exercise will help you get used to where your foot needs to go when performing a pirouette and help you test your balance at the same time. Like the first exercise, from fifth go into relevé, then slide the foot up into passé and stay! Hold it for as long as you can. However many seconds you can hold this position will tell you how many turns you can do. Then practice again, but complete a turn this time! If you’re on a roll, try a third time, with two turns!

Tendu and Glissé En Croix

Focus on your turnout and your hips with this exercise. Tendu en croix, plié with the back leg, and then balance in passé, with the back leg now in front and repeat on the left. Then, glissé en croix, this time when you plié, turn, and land in fifth so you can repeat on the left again. This is a great way to work on controlling your turn! 

Changement Into Fourth

This exercise will help you really understand how your muscles work when you’re going into a pirouette! Afterall, you can’t fix them if you don’t know how to. Do fourteen changement’s landing in fourth position and squeeze up into passé. Then repeat on the other side. Repeat again on both sides, but this time, do a pirouette! Having to quickly change from fifth to fourth while in the air will activate the muscles you need to keep tightened while doing your pirouette. If you get frustrated, don’t worry, just go at your own pace!

Final Thoughts: Exercises to Improve Your Pirouettes

While these exercises are meant to be done in center, most of them can be done with the barre. There’s no shame in using the barre or something to act like a barre, in order to guide you through them until you can do them completely in center. If you are doing them at the barre, challenge yourself! Try to balance in passé on your own and hold that position. Practice makes perfect.

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