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Pirouettes - the whys and wherefores


Ian Macmillan
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A scientific study on how dancers deal with pirouettes has had some coverage this morning, including Deborah Bull demonstrating to the Today programme sitting on an office chair.  A link to a report on the study is here:

 

http://www.science20.com/news_articles/ballet_dancers_brains_are_different_too-121284

 

And Imperial College has posted this since I posted Links:

 

http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsandeventspggrp/imperialcollege/newssummary/news_26-9-2013-17-43-4

 

Other coverage on this Google page:

 

http://news.google.com/news/rtc?ncl=dwwFLP03qPgn7XM&ned=uk&siidp=3e2e8244a57c0f4e4f198ed1a3b7c3c3d667

 

 

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Very interesting info.especially for young people contemplating a possible career!!

 

My feeling is though that dancers would only gain this advantage if dancing constantly. Or does this just deteriorate with age anyway!

 

In my late thirties I spent a year working part time at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases in Queens Square in London.(I had this job so I could fit in a dance course I wanted to do).

While I was there they wanted volunteers as part of control investigations into Nystagmus(rapid movement of the eyes) and Multiple Sclerosis. In order to try to bring on Nystagmus they poured water into the ear at different amounts(bit like a slightly longer version of having your ears syringed) And of course this procedure because of the inner ear being stimulated to a degree can bring on dizziness(as in doing lots of posee turns or chainees say) which we were warned about and had to stop immediately if this dizziness got too much etc. Well then I managed to complete my part in this trial with very little problems....I didnt have to stop for dizziness and I can also say that then I could do turns with hardly any dizziness!!

 

HOWEVER...now..it is a different story and inspite of all previous training I get quite dizzy turning especially to the left!!

Whether this will disappear in the next year say when will have built up more practice again(they seem to be suggesting that its the practice which is inhibiting this response) OR whether this is a natural consequence of older age will be interesting to see.

I would LOVE it not to be the latter as then I may be able to look forward to the prospect of doing some posee turns across the room without having to find something to hold on to at the end!!

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Yes Ive noticed the fairground thing too!!

 

Last December 1st to celebrate my retirement/birthday and another colleagues birthday I went with a few very close colleagues for a meal in Brighton and one bought her10 year old along who was dying to go on the big wheel still here in Brighton.

 

Now this doesn't exactly go round at the rate of knots but dear me I didn't realise that I had now developed vertigo as well!!

I just couldn't look for parts of the time much to the amusement of the ten year old who then kept standing up to make it wobble!!

Also the man operating it was feeling generous and gave us an extra few turns!!

 

I used to love the big wheel and those big swings etc but now can only do on sufferance unfortunately...it rather seems then that age does have something to do with it. Anybody else have such experiences or are you all happy to be tossed around ad infinitum!!!

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Further to my original post, and thanks to Londondance, there is now a link to the Today interview this morning, complete with Deborah Bull demonstrating how to pirouette an office chair:

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-24295974

 

Considering the number of hours I have spent listening to Today down the years, it's good to see them all in their den!

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I listened to this radio programme.  It was very interesting.  From an early age dancing DS used to spin.  His grandparents had a chair/stool that was well oiled and he could lean over it and spin it round with his legs.  He did this for hours and said he never got dizzy.  From time to time I test him by spinning him on a playground spinner and challenging him to walk in a straight line, which he can usually do.  So I think he is programmed to spin and not get dizzy!  We used to joke that he would need a job that involved spinning around so maybe he will end up a ballet dancer!

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This story has run off and on in Twitter all day, including the following from Ballet Central:

 

"@balletcentral: BBC and ITV news came into CSB today to see how we teach our dancers to pirouette, they are scheduled to appear on the 10pm news tonight!"

 

So take your pick on which channel to watch.

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Is it because they spin more on the spot? Am not sure. I do get dizzier if I'm travelling across the room as well as turning eg posee turns or chainees rather than in Pirouettes where you are in one place doing them......but also rarely do more than two turns at once. Also with pirouettes there's usually some other dance steps in between but you could be doing a lot of posee turns etc one after the other. I'll have to try it out.....spinning on the spot that is .....will I get less dizzy than soutenus or posee turns!! I'll wait till tomorrow now as just finishing a nice glass of wine.....definitely don't think wine and pirouettes mix any more!!

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Missed this because we are having trouble with reception here at the moment so the tv signal keeps disappearing.....oh for the days of analogue!! After experience with tv will definitely fight to stop the analogue signal for radio being taken away!

 

Anyway may try to catch on iplayer.....do they do the news on this come to think of it?

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Tulip, I know! Luckily I teach infants but I have to be careful which games I join in!

What year is your daughter in? My son is in 1st. He's just texted to say that he was given free tickets by a teacher to see the full dress rehearsal of don Quixote today so is currently sat in a box with another student at the ROH .Lucky boy!

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Have just watched on the itv news website.

 

In the background I recognised a boy who was at the YBSS and who took part in Dowells Masterclass there! He was the one who told me that only one of the people in the Masterclass the previous night was at the RBS (Reece).

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Funnily enough I went to see BRB at the Lowri last night and there were different shapes and sizes amongs them too, another nice thing to see was they weren't unhealthily skin and bone either. They were thin but looked healthy. There was lots of fast turns and spins and always landing accurately obviously. Is it true that some body shapes are better turners?

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Tulip - I wish I had known you were there last night!  It would have been nice to meet and say hello.

 

Please post some thoughts about the performance on this thread:  http://www.balletcoforum.com/index.php?/topic/4898-birmingham-royal-ballet-sleeping-beauty-autumn-2013/#entry60901

 

I love hearing other people's opinions and it stops everyone getting too bored with mine!

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Funnily enough I went to see BRB at the Lowri last night and there were different shapes and sizes amongs them too, another nice thing to see was they weren't unhealthily skin and bone either. They were thin but looked healthy. There was lots of fast turns and spins and always landing accurately obviously. Is it true that some body shapes are better turners?

 

Yes, there are some body types which are easier to work with when learniing pirouettes.  But there are also exceptions to every "rule."

 

For instand, usually a short person has an easier time - but Prima Ballerina Cynthia Gregory had no problem!

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on the old forum, I posted a question possibly related to this.

 

I had noticed that our 2 dancing children did not get car sick, whilst our non-dancing child did. The dancing chidren can read, watch their phones etc with no problem. the non-dancing just can't at all.

 

but the replies were a little inconclusive from others. Maybe a longer and bigger research project would be needed.

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This could be related I think. Because when the inner ear is disturbed sickness or at least a feeling of nausea can be one of the results as well as dizziness. I know about twenty odd years ago now I got some inner ear infection I think it was labyrintitis (or something like that name) which meant I had to keep still most of the time....no bad thing probably at the time....(as any movement made me feel sick or dizzy. I've always been a good traveller whatever the transport.....but my father used to go "green" (a very very pale white with a possible tinge of green!)....much to my horror...on any sort of boat though did not get air sickness.....so it's an interesting area. Some people just get coach sickness and so on. I'm sure they are all connected to the ear/eye relationship in some way. So some things could be genetic in origin in that sense.

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