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Pique turns


swanprincess
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Hi, i was just wondering if anyone knows of any exercises to improve pique turns en pointe? i have slightly swaybacked legs, so find it very hard to keep the working leg straight whilst stepping into a turn. They are okay when done slowly, but anything faster becomes difficult- for example yesterday at class we did a sequence of 7 pique turns on a diagonal (and later as part of a menage in which i just couldn't keep up) to the Black Swan Coda music. by about the 3rd turn i was behind the music- how do i improve my strength in pique turns so that i can turn quickly but keep the working leg from bending? thanks :)

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Guest dancer2027

Do you know if it's your pointe shoes causing the problem. When I wear grishko 07, unless I pull out the nail, and 3/4 shank them I cannot get up enough on my shoe. Just in doing that I go from no pirrouette to a double, I don't have great feet so I have to make my shoes really bendy and even though grishko are crazy hard you can change that which is why I like them

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The thing to do is practice diagonals of piqué without turning. When you can do them very strongly then you can add the turn and it will seem easier. 

 

I agree with this.  

 

Every time you are on pointe - no matter what you are doing - is practice for piqué turns.  Feel the stremgth going clear up (and down) from your hip to your toe and back again.

Edited by Anjuli_Bai
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Hi Swanprincess,

 

I have this habit as well (if we can call it a habit) and it's something I am currently working on as well. I have swaybacked legs too. My teacher advises me that it is all about weight placement. She tells me that on every pose, I should be thinking of the supporting/fondu leg giving the push/momentum to transfer weight onto the new supporting leg. She says that if I think of the toe or pointe shoe platform touching the floor first before transferring weight onto it, then I would bend my knee on the pose. She says that if I focus on the supporting leg doing all the work, providing the power to transfer weight onto the pose leg, then this will solve the problem.

 

She also says that, for me, it's a body placement issue as well. If on the fondu action, coming down from a pose, I change my weight placement right over on to the fondu leg, this will slow me down and make it more difficult to do the next pose/pique turn because I would need more time to rearrange my body position in order to do the next pose turn. It would take more time because I wouldn't be able to go straight into the next pose/pique turn smoothly. So if I was turning to the right down the diagonal, and came down in fondu on my left leg, the problem would appear if my body placement went over onto the left side as well. I would be in the wrong 'place' to immediately go into the next pose/pique turn. Being far too over the fondu leg could also take your weight back for the actual turn, which would slow you down (according to my teacher).

 

I hope this is helpful. Because I have swaybacked legs, I find it hard to know sometimes when my leg is actually 'properly' straight or a bit bent since I try not to push back on them. I think it's harder on pointe (like everything else!).

Edited by Dancer Sugar Plum
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I would agree with the comments made. The key is in a good preparation in between each turn as this also helps centre you in terms of helping to prevent your turns going 'off piste'.

 

The speed of the transfer from the preparation to first step onto pointe is also key as if you crawl onto pointe you are likely resort to a bent knee.

 

A couple of things of things to add- practice the step facing the barre without a turn so you move down the barre just doing the preparation and the pose onto pointe and work up to repeating so you can do a series travelling down the barre without the turn. As you get stronger and more confident try increasing the speed and doing them without holding onto the barre. You need this strength and placement to be able to turn with confidence at speed in the centre.

 

Another thing I have found helps students when turning from the corner is to think more about the arms and upper body so you get a continuous movement. You will typically notice as turns start to run out of steam that the body weight goes back. If you can consciously think about reaching forward to the corner with the leading arm before each turn this should help. When I first start to teach students to turn from the corner I just get them to do arms and turn on flat foot but actually ask them to point to the corner with the leading arm before bringing the arms into first. It helps to say in your head 'reach turn, reach turn' to help you keep this in mind. Once you have this feeling you can think of the foot which you pose onto being connected to the arm which you reach to the corner with and this should help encourage the body weight to come forward over the leg. Make sure you also engage your core whilst turning.

 

As turns speed up you want to use a powerful preparation but not one which gets stuck so you try to not stop in between each turn but pass through a strong position which gives you the energy to go into the next turn. I think you will get what I mean as most people have seen how a pose turn can be done in a way that there is a collapse in between each turn rather than a live engagement for the pose.

Bit rambling but hope some of this helps.

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I would agree with the comments made. The key is in a good preparation in between each turn as this also helps centre you in terms of helping to prevent your turns going 'off piste'.

 

The speed of the transfer from the preparation to first step onto pointe is also key as if you crawl onto pointe you are likely resort to a bent knee.

 

A couple of things of things to add- practice the step facing the barre without a turn so you move down the barre just doing the preparation and the pose onto pointe and work up to repeating so you can do a series travelling down the barre without the turn. As you get stronger and more confident try increasing the speed and doing them without holding onto the barre. You need this strength and placement to be able to turn with confidence at speed in the centre.

 

Another thing I have found helps students when turning from the corner is to think more about the arms and upper body so you get a continuous movement. You will typically notice as turns start to run out of steam that the body weight goes back. If you can consciously think about reaching forward to the corner with the leading arm before each turn this should help. When I first start to teach students to turn from the corner I just get them to do arms and turn on flat foot but actually ask them to point to the corner with the leading arm before bringing the arms into first. It helps to say in your head 'reach turn, reach turn' to help you keep this in mind. Once you have this feeling you can think of the foot which you pose onto being connected to the arm which you reach to the corner with and this should help encourage the body weight to come forward over the leg. Make sure you also engage your core whilst turning.

 

As turns speed up you want to use a powerful preparation but not one which gets stuck so you try to not stop in between each turn but pass through a strong position which gives you the energy to go into the next turn. I think you will get what I mean as most people have seen how a pose turn can be done in a way that there is a collapse in between each turn rather than a live engagement for the pose.

Bit rambling but hope some of this helps.

 

This is very helpful Balleteacher.

 

I like the description of not going 'off piste' and not 'crawling onto pointe'. It has been pointed out to me that since I am balancing on a very small area during pointe, any slight shift in placement is enough to ruin my placement. So if I've collapsed or become off-centred in between each turn, even just very slightly, it's enough to ruin the next turn.

 

I find these easier to do slowly and there's time to think of everything I need to do for the preparation and turn. Once the music is faster, I find it's easy to go 'off piste'. I guess that means I am not ready to do these faster yet.

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