Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Step of the week 1.pirouette


  • Please log in to reply
39 replies to this topic

#1 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 28 September 2003 - 03:47 AM

OK, let me kick off this new idea with the pirouette.

Pirouette is the general term for a turn done on one foot and in place (sur place) and can be done to the inside (en dedans) or outside (en dehors). When the left foot is the supporting foot, the turn goes to the right for en dehors, and left for en dedans. So, you see, the turn is made an outside or inside turn by when it turns away from the supporting leg (en dehors) and turns toward the supporting leg (en dedans). Pirouettes can be done in any position with one leg off the floor. They may also be done in long series by a number of little hops on the supporting foot (grande pirouette), particularly with the leg extended above the floor. In French, "pirouette" is feminine, so the adjectives applied to it have to agree in gender - grande, piquée, and so on.

Pirouettes generally differ from "tours" in that a tour is done with both feet, or NO feet (tour en l'air) on the floor, and/or traveling. Nomenclature is an insidious thing, and what may be called pirouette in one school may be called a tour or a movement "en tournant" (turning) in another.

Here's a video from ABT's fine Ballet Dictionary, showing a multiple pirouette done by Angel Corella. Once you've seen him do it forward for en dehors, run it backward for an idea of en dedans. SPOT QUIZ: Corella is an excellent dancer, but can you pick out the technical flaw just before he starts turning?

http://www.abt.org/e.../pirouette.html

#2 Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 596 posts

Posted 28 September 2003 - 08:28 AM

Thanks for the pirouette lesson, Mr. Johnson.

Uuhhh, is the answer to your question he's using his arms to "wind" himself up for the turn? :)

#3 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 28 September 2003 - 08:40 AM

Yup, that's it! He's "cocking the pistol" to start the turn. Now Corella is a fine dancer, and those turns are great, but it would be better if he didn't "wind up" to do the turns!

#4 Hans

Hans

    Sapphire Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,104 posts

Posted 28 September 2003 - 11:55 AM

Nomenclature is an insidious thing, and what may be called pirouette in one school may be called a tour or a movement "en tournant" (turning) in another.


Definitely! I don't know what the current usage is at the Vaganova Academy, but in "Basic Principles," Vaganova refers to pirouettes as "tours." So if you run into any old-fashioned Russians... :)

I would also like to highlight Corella's lovely rounded first position of the arms.

#5 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 28 September 2003 - 04:11 PM

Yes, those rounded arms are very important. For every downside there's an upside, and this is one of the upsides to Corella's pirouettes. :)

#6 Funny Face

Funny Face

    Senior Member

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 233 posts

Posted 28 September 2003 - 04:29 PM

Thanks, this is a good idea.

Just wondering, what do you call a turn that is done on one leg but ends in a pratfall because your fellow students decided to use both water AND rosin on a wood floor, and forgot to tell you to bring your figure skates instead of your ballet slippers? :)

#7 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 28 September 2003 - 05:06 PM

Pirouette avec chute allongée.

Which is not to be confused with pirouette boompsa-daisy, which is done by doing a pirouette and bumping somebody else's backside with YOUR backside.

#8 Cristina

Cristina

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 29 posts

Posted 28 September 2003 - 05:57 PM

:yes:

Mr. Mel,

Your timing is incredible. Just yesterday my daughter was showing me the difference between turning to the inside vs. turning to the outside. I just did not get the concept. Your explanation makes great sense, and makes it clear.

I was trying and trying to draw some analogy to something I knew - but really could not. Turning away from the supporting leg - or to the supporting leg I can live with.

Thanks!

#9 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 28 September 2003 - 06:05 PM

That's what this topic is all about. Alexandra had a great idea when she proposed a "step of the week" thread. By the end of a year, we'll have 52 general terms that are or should be part of every ballet discoverer's vocabulary. BW's suggestion to add visuals when possible is a good idea, and the definitions there can help in addition to what we say. Next week, somebody a lot like me or I will post another general term and explain it, then we'll just go onward, week-by-week, from there.

#10 Paul Parish

Paul Parish

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,925 posts

Posted 28 September 2003 - 06:52 PM

love that chute allongee.....

very nice arms on Corella, too.

Baryshnikov used to use arms like that -- beautiful

#11 Treefrog

Treefrog

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 639 posts

Posted 28 September 2003 - 08:09 PM

I'm wondering if maybe that's a pirouette avec ZUT allongée?

or perhaps it's a zut chute?

:shrug: :green: :) :party:

#12 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 29 September 2003 - 03:36 AM

Actually, the "chute allongée" is a real part of the ballet vocabulary and stands for a stage fall, most notably the layout fall that Albrecht takes at the end of his Act II variation in Giselle.

#13 Treefrog

Treefrog

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 639 posts

Posted 29 September 2003 - 05:42 AM

Aw, it's not often I get to make bilingual puns. Indulge me. (for those whose high school French is even worse than mine, "zut" is a mild swear or expression of dismay)

In truth, I too am glad to know the distinction between en déhors and en dedans. This is going to be a really useful topic.

Is there some way we can submit candidates for future elucidation? Should we PM you? The kinds of questions I'm thinking of are not "what's a _____________", but on the order of "what's that step I've seen Calvin Kitten of the Joffrey do, where he kind of leaps and kicks out his back leg, with one arm over his head and the other rounded"?

#14 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 29 September 2003 - 01:54 PM

I imagine we could take nominations for upcoming Steps of the Week on a preceding thread. And since this is #1, it's the precedingest of all! Is that step you're looking for in "Trinity", by some chance?

#15 Treefrog

Treefrog

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 639 posts

Posted 29 September 2003 - 03:01 PM

No, it's one of the Snow Prince's exits in Nutcracker. It's like a grand jeté or saut de chat -- I never know which is which, anyway, even if I could see it in slow motion -- but he seems to hover, pause, and relate to the audience for, oh, a good couple of seconds before landing upstage right into the wings. I think there might be a kind of scissors kick involved, too, but it's been a while.

There's a picture of it gracing a billboard on the Kennedy Expressway -- it's been there ever since last season!


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):