How to do a pirouette en dehors and en dedans ?

by Nick

Can somebody analyse a pirouette en dehors and en dedans?

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Feb 18, 2014
Maria's reply
by: Maria

Dear Nick,

Here's a description of the process of learning how to do a pirouette en dehors and en dedans:

At the barre, after having done the first warming up exercises and at least after the rond the jambes, you should start the preparatory exercises:

- Battement tendu a la seconde (to the side); working arm to the side; count: one (beginners start from first position and intermediate levels from fifth)

- Preparation at fourth position in demi plié with working leg derrière; working arm to first position; count: two

- Working arm to the side; count: and

- Extend standing leg; coupé devant with working leg; working arm to first position; count: three (start with coupé and flat foot on the standing leg, evolve to coupé and relevé, then to passé with flat foot and finally to passé with relevé)

- Close position; count: four; repeat all.

Once this coordination is achieved without loosing balance, you may introduce one half of a turn in count three. Both arms go to first position at this moment. Once you have good control of this, you may introduce the full turn.

For turning en dehors, the knee of your working leg guides the turn as if it wanted to go outwards and backwards. For turning en dedans, the heel of your standing leg guides the turn as if it wanted to go outwards and backwards.

After practicing at the barre and once you achieve to maintain good balance, you may start practicing at the center, with the same progression.

Here are some tips:

1. One single or double pirouette needs less momentum than what we imagine. If you use too much force, you will have trouble stopping the turn, which will take you out of balance.

2. Spotting is indispensable: choose a point in front of you just before turning and keep looking at it while you start to turn. You should only turn your head at the very end of the turn when it is impossible to keep staring at the spot. This will make your head turn at the end of the turn, after the rest of your body and you should do it as fast as possible but without stress, searching for the spot again.

3. The main force is really done by the standing leg as it goes to the relevé. The rest of the body should be quietly aligned, avoiding any type of leaning when changing weight from fourth position to one leg.

Ballet teachers say that every person has its own way of turning, so after practicing this kind of standardized technique, you may try slight variations that fit your body and that allow you to turn better. This may include varying the width of your fourth position, varying the moment in which you open and close your arms and so forth.

At the page about technical tips for fouetté turns, you will find other tips that are common for all turns. You can check it our here:

Technical tips for fouetté turns

I wish you fun turning... ;-) !!


Feb 20, 2014
by: Anonymous

Super,that's very helpful Maria

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