Every dancer dreams to turn like Sophia Lucia or a prima ballerina, but very few know the tricks to achieve their goals. This blog post will show you a few key tips that will help you master any turn you want to learn! Read 5 of our key turning tips below to help you improve pirouettes (and other turns) quickly!
Spotting is simply choosing a point to focus on while your turn, by whipping your head around and maintaining focus between turns. It essentially prevents a dancer from becoming dizzy. Spotting is also the main tool that will get you to physically spin – so the number of times that you spot your head will equal the number of turns that you can complete (assuming that you are remembering and applying the the other turning tips mentioned).
Imagine a pirouette or any turn like a spinning top, with a strong centre and a cone-like shape around it. In order to become a pro at turning, you need to have a straight centre of balance accompanied by some form of cone shape to help stabilise and balance your turn! Basically imagine trying to get a banana to balance and spin upright – impossible right! Now try with a spinning top – and it will spin for a long time! Keep your spine as straight as possible by pulling up in your lower abdominals and keep your supporting leg straight.
As mentioned earlier a strong centre to your turns will improve your technique hugely! Focus on strengthening your abdominals, obliques and back muscles in class or at home. While turning you should be squeezing these muscles as tight as you can! Lower abdominal strengthening exercises will also help you to “pull up” in your turns and allow you to float through them with ease.
Your feet and ankles are the entire base and support of your turns. Because your foot is the only part of your body that is connected to the ground, it needs to be very stable to support multiple pirouettes. Your relevé should be nice and high on demi-pointe and your weight in the ball of your foot.
Just like anything in dance (and life), the only way to improve is by practicing. The key is to make sure that you are actively practicing the correct technique to your best ability. Repetition of turns with poor technique/bad habits will only encourage you to continue making mistakes and will definitely stunt your improvement! Think about your goals and what you need to do to achieve them every time you practice and you’ll be turning like a pro in no time!
There are lots of things to think about when perfecting your turns but try focus on one or two corrections at a time and your body will naturally perform (using muscle memory). Let us know in the comments what type of turn you are working on currently! pirouettes? a la seconde? pencil turns? something different?