Zoey Tran demonstrates the second step of a pirouette

Technique tutorial: Positioning into the perfect pirouette

  1. A pirouette in ballet is a turn done by spinning on the toes of one foot.

First place the left foot in front and right foot in the back. The arms should be in a L position, with the right arm in front and the left arm to the side. It is important to warm up beforehand. 

“Warming up is important because it ensures that your whole body is ready to move. You could possibly pull a muscle or get seriously injured if you don’t,” dance team member sophomore Cayleigh Lin said. “For dance, you [have to] stretch out every part of your body since it requires flexibility of all your muscles.”2

2. Go into a relevé with the left leg while bringing the toes in line with the knee. Bring the arms up and point the fingers toward the navel while bending at the elbows. Make sure the body is aligned by having the shoulders above the knees and the knees above the ankles as to maintain a high relevé. This is the foundation of a pirouette.

“A lot of people turn with really low relevé,” dance team member sophomore Zoey Tran said. “That’s good for a little bit, but it’s going to hurt you in the long run, so always keep your relevé very high.”3

3. Combine all the previous steps and turn to perform a pirouette. During the rotation, remember to keep the shoulders down, ribcage closed by “sucking in” the stomach and core tight. Include spotting in the pirouette by picking a spot on the wall to look at during the turn. This step decreases the chance of getting dizzy and allows for more rotations.

“It’s really fun to practice and fun to see how many rotations you can get. It’s a nice challenge for yourself,” Tran said. “When you’re new, [a pirouette] might seem difficult, but practice makes perfect.”

Cathy Li, Feature editor
Photo by Mia Nam