23 August, 2011
How to Get Better Balance on Pirouettes
You start with the right preparation, sync your movements and start to spot your head, but you still find yourself falling out of your pirouettes. If, class after class, you dread center work because you know the pirouettes are coming, it is time to tackle your balance issues. Start by videotaping yourself turning to see if there are any glaring technique errors you have missed, then examine your movement for more nuanced mistakes.
Practice your ideal body alignment in front of the mirror before you turn. According to "Dance Spirit Magazine," it takes proper body alignment and tons of strength to complete the perfect pirouette. Common mistakes include raising your working hip, sitting too low on your supporting side or forgetting about your upper body posture. Imagine energy going into the floor from your supporting foot while energy rises through your body from your foot in passé.
Choose an object to spot and stick to it. Look at your object -- it should be at eye level -- before you turn, then whip your head around to find it again while your body catches up during the turn. Spotting too slowly or too quickly can mess with your balance. If you are going for multiple rotations during your pirouette, remember that you should do a complete spot each time just as you do a complete turn. For example, if you are going for a triple pirouette you should find the object with your eyes three times.
Slow down your turn. This may seem counter-intuitive, as you assume the faster you spin the more rotations you can get before you fall out of the turn. According to "Pointe Magazine," however, slowing your turns can help you keep your balance longer, thus getting more rotations. Play a slow piece of music to help find your internal rhythm for your turns.
Banish stress from your muscles and your life. Daniel Lewis, New World School of the Arts’ Dean of Dance, told "Dance Magazine" that unnecessary tension often makes dancers lose their balance. Improper stretching or too much stress can cause tense muscles. If you can’t minimize the stressors in your life, such as relationship or family problems, "Dance Magazine" recommends using rhythmic breathing to banish the tension. Try breathing in your nose for four counts, holding for four counts, then breathing out for four counts while imagining the tension escaping from each and every muscle.
- An essential factor in maintaining balance in pirouette is overcoming fear of the turn itself. Greater confidence is a function of practice and conscientious training.
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