Pirouette: Whirl or spin; a classical ballet term meaning “spin.” A complete turn of the body on one foot, on point, or demi-pointe.
It describes when a dancer is turning around one leg with the other off the ground and in a position, most commonly in passé. A pirouette can be done either en dedans, turning in towards the supporting leg that the dancer is turning on, or en dehors, turning away from the supporting leg.
Pirouettes are performed en dedans, turning inward toward the supporting leg, or en dehors, turning outward in the raised leg’s direction. Correct body placement is essential for all kinds of pirouettes. The body must be well centered over the supporting leg with the back held firmly and the hips and shoulders aligned. The force of momentum is furnished by the arms, which remain immobile during the turn. The head is the last to move as the body turns away from the spectator and the first to arrive as the body comes around to the spectator, with the eyes focused at a definite point that must be at eye level. This use of the eyes while turning is called “spotting.” Pirouettes may be performed in any given position, such as sur le cou-de-pied, en attitude, en arabesque, à la seconde, etc.Pirouettes are often considered one of the most fun ballet steps to practice and do. Because they are quite hard to do cleanly with multiple turns (double pirouettes, triple pirouettes, and so on), it becomes very rewarding for dancers once they feel they’ve improved their pirouettes. A pirouette can come in many different forms since it describes any turn on one leg. While close in definition, a pirouette is not done with a piqué, but with a relevé despite the descriptionof pirouette and pique turn being similar.
- Movement Explanations:
- Start in Fourth position (not too wide).
- Arms open, one to the side and one in front.
- Do a plié.
- Open both arms while doing the plié.
- Bring both arms together while your foot goes to passe (Retiré).
- Use the momentum when you lift your upper body passe to turn.
- Movement Techniques:
- Balance weight evenly between both legs
- Choose a point to focus on in front of you.
- Maintain focus on point throughout the movement.