Pirouette Preparation Drill for Beginners

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It’s important for dancers to know where the body should be aligned in order to perform a successful pirouette. In this drill, dancers will learn the proper balance and passe position from ballet expert, Elizabeth Quinn Welch.

This exercise will focus on going from sus-sous to a passe. Sus-sous translates to “over-under” and describes going onto releve, then quickly placing the back foot closely behind the front foot in fifth position. Your legs should be fully stretched when performing this exercise. Your passe should be connected to your knee and your foot should be pointed.

During this drill, your hands will be on your shoulders so you can focus on finding your balance. You will begin by going to a sus-sous on 1, passe on 2, sus-sous 3, plié 4, sus-sous 5, passe 6, sus-sous 7, plié 8. You will be alternating which leg is going into passe. Each time you come to sus-sous, a different leg should be in front in fifth position. Your leg should come straight up the leg and straight back down the back of the leg. You want to keep your upper body calm and try not to wobble. It’s also important not to let your hips move side to side. You want to make sure your hips stay level while you’re practicing this drill.

One tip to finding your balance is to engage all your muscles, especially your core. Having a good core helps to keep the shoulders stacked right on top of the ribs, the ribs right over the hips and the pelvis properly centered. Having a stable alignment helps to eliminate small shifts in your weight, which will result in your balance being thrown off-center. If you want to have a stable pirouette, you must practice this drill regularly.