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How to Spot for Pirouettes

Pirouettes is one of the most prolific ballet steps. Learning how to do one pirouette is already a big challenge for dancers, but what about multiple pirouettes? Actually, learning how to do 2 or 3 pirouettes is not that different from learning how to do a single pirouette. However, the key to multiple turns is spotting.

First off, be sure to check out our previous blog Technique Tips: Improve Your Pirouettes for more general pointers on turning and an overview on how to spot. For this blog, we will just be diving deep into spotting.

Let’s break down how to spot and why it is so essential to pirouettes.

Now that you’ve reviewed how to spot in our previous blog, let’s reiterate the basics:

  • Keep your neck and shoulders relaxed, chin parallel to the floor and head straight – you can’t spot properly if your head is tilted or neck is twisted!

  • Think about the ¼ – ¾ rule: turn your body ¼ before you snap your head back around to the front the rest of the ¾ of the full rotation.

Keep a rhythm when you spot.

To spot better and more consistently, try spotting with the beat of the music to keep it the same speed. For example, if attempting a double pirouette, your two turns should be in time with the tempo of the music you are dancing to. Remember, the speed of your spot should be the same for all the turns you are doing in our pirouette – you cannot have your first turn be fast and then slow down on the second turn.

Let's take the video above as an example. As a rhythm exercise, try to clap to the beat of the music. Notice how you are also clapping to each of his pirouettes. Every one of the pirouettes keeps the same speed and also matches the tempo of the music. Now, practice your own pirouettes by finding the beat of the music and matching your pirouettes to it!

You must attack your pirouette

Many dancers fail to complete multiple pirouettes because they let their spot lead their turn by leaving their head too long before whipping it back around at the start of the pirouette. You cannot delay your head! You must attack the pirouette with a strong accent of the head and energy! Slow turning and not enough umph into the take off of the pirouette also leads to a lazy spot and therefore less rotations.

Notice in the video above how the her head is like a whip – you can clearly see where her eyes are spotting and return to after each rotation!

Remember everything else!

PIrouettes are not just about the head, but coordination of the entire body to complete the turn! So make sure you do your due diligence to strengthen your core, hold your posture, keep your arms held and push off fast in your preparation to help get you around. Practice makes perfect!


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