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Home > Dance Q&A

How do I improve my pirouette?

Dear Dancehelp,

I've been dancing for over 5 years and for some reason, I am still having problems with pirouettes. How can I improve my turns? I have "knock knees" and I try to do everything the teacher instructs and try to make corrections but I just feel out of alignment...Help!


A. Hello Jenna -

Thank you for writing. Pirouettes can be very tough for some. It takes a certain level of skill, bravery and certain body types adjust sooner than others. Inverted knees do prove to be a bit more troublesome when it comes to pirouettes.

It is extremely important that through every barre exercise you "pull up" through the hips and knees. Those with inverted knees sometimes resort to keeping them slightly bent so they can make a perfect 1st position with no space between the heels. Many teachers disagree on this particular correction.

Listen close: you need to straighten through the back of the knee 100% so you can keep that flowing energy throughout the entire body. If you are keeping that one area relaxed during all the exercises so it looks "correct" then you are missing out on gaining the strength, particularly for pirouettes since it requires that area to be completely straightened with energy.

Also be sure that your torso is pulled up properly and that your arm "whip" isn't sabotaging your efforts. Arm placement is crucial as well as spotting.

One exercise that might help is to back up and start from square one: try to just work on pulling up into a releve in position and holding it. After that is solid move to quarter turns, then half turns. Make them slow and controlled. Once you feel solid move on to full turns. Do not move into doubles and triples until the others are clean and controlled.

I hope this helps!


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