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Pirouette preparation


FullContretemps
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I have a technique question raised by class this morning. I'm fairly sure I have always been taught (by a variety of teachers) that when beginning a pirouette en dehors from fourth you releve on to the supporting leg, bringing it underneath you: underneath where you weight is in the centre of your demi-plie.

 

We have a different teacher doing some of our classes this term, who so far seems pretty spot on, but this morning we were doing a pirouette exercise with this preparation and were told not to lose contact with the floor. This means moving your weight over onto the front foot, and (presumably) doing what is technically more of a rise than a releve (where your toes by definition must move I would have thought, but please correct me if I'm wrong!). The teacher said that this way you know where your balance is rather than if you've moved your foot underneath you, but to me it seems that if I've had to move my whole weight then I might not know where my balance is. Also the emphasis, rightly, was on going up rather than round, but also up rather than forward, which I would have thought was easier if you bring the foot under, otherwise you are moving forwards so it's hard to then go up instead.

 

Does anybody know if there's a correct way or if it's a matter of opinion or whatever works for each dancer? It really got me thinking!

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I've always been taught to snatch my foot into a releve to prepare - that way your centre of gravity doesn't have to move and you are more stable. I've always told my students this too.

 

However, when I was on a course last month the instructor said to rise onto the front foot, like your teacher was describing, as it is a more stable preparation and the disruption caused by slightly changing your centre of gravity is minimal. 

 

It could be a style thing, I'm RAD trained and this was an ISTD teacher. It might just be personal preference too.

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There are just different ways of doing it. Obviously if you're on pointe you're going to have to relevé. I don't know anything about the exam boards you mention but it might be that some teach the relevé in preparation for pointe work.

Personally, I was orginally taught to relevé but when a different teacher told us to do it from a rise my pirouettes improved incredibly!

 

If you do a search on this forum for "pirouette" there is a thread from 1st Feb 2015 which discusses this topic. I tried to copy and paste the link but either the forum or my PC wouldn't let me!

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Thanks invisiblecircus - should have thought to search before posting! Sounds like it might be a style or case by case decision in different enchainements. 

 

RachelC I was brought up RAD too, and all my previous teachers were, but this one has a wider style I think. Think I might have to have a go at working on the new method so I can make my own choice as to what to use. Might get told off by some teachers though - one of mine always bangs on at people who "don't releve properly"!

 

With reference to pointe, all the slow motion multiple pirouette demonstrations I have now been looking at on YouTube use the rising method, even a couple en pointe, interestingly, which I wouldn't have even know was possible!

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I think the RAD used to prefer a 'strong rise' rather than a full on relevé when not en pointe, although I am sure it varies from teacher to teacher. I agree with the principle that if going onto full pointe a relevé would make more sense although recently I've seen lots of really good turners use a rise, or a relevé, or a combination of the two. A lot of male dancers, especially doing multiple turns, don't even get to the full height of their demi pointe until sometimes two or more rotations into the turn!

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I teach it as a strong rise too, because a releve stops you from turning immediately.  You can probably do one turn from a releve, but you won't get the impetus you need for multiples, if you don't twist quickly on the supporting leg.  The preparation is actually taken with slightly more weight on to the front leg, to ensure that when you rise up you go straight on to the supporting leg in the right place. You push off with the back foot and if your weight is too far back it won't work.  In recent years I have also changed how I teach the head too.  We used to always leave the head as long as possible and then whip it round, but now I prefer to leave the head only briefly before whipping it round to the front - I find that keeps the head straighter whilst they're spotting.  The head is heavy, so if it's at an angle that can also throw the balance off.  Teaching technique is a fluid thing - many aspects of it that were accepted as gospel  even twenty years ago, have fallen by the wayside as new methods have taken over which profuce better results. 

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Yes I found it helpful too.

 

I tend to do the strong rise even though originally taught to do a releve and I'm not sure you need such a strong head action .......if only doing ONE pirouette that is. I find if I don't push off with the back foot my weight will often be too far back!!

 

Though I do like the preparation exercise where you plié (say into 4th) then rise and hold the rise and then quickly plié at the last minute before taking the pirouette.

 

Franziska Rosenzweig is doing a workshop based on turning and pirouettes on Saturday July 23rd at the Place in London from 12.30 to,4.30.

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Check this link out, I found it quite helpful but one of my teachers prefers the snatch-up method for going into fouette's, but for simple pirouettes my preference is for a rise during the rotation of the plié:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2-qRFM_g_I

Edited by Michelle_Richer
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Right, having had far too many days off dancing I shall be trying out some of this tonight (let's see if anyone notices and/or tells me off!). Thanks everyone!

 

Gosh, wish I still lived closer to London. Probably can't quite justify that but it sounds really good - have fun you two :)

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