Thanks to everyone who 🌀🌀🌀-ed like crazy for our #TurnWithDanceSpirit contest! We were SUPER impressed with your submissions—you guys do not mess around when you're turning 'round. (And you really, really like to pirouette to Taylor Swift, which made us extra happy.)
So, who gave us serious #turnspiration?
This contest has ended.
It's time to get your pirouette on! From September 5th to September 30th, we're hosting a contest to find out who's the best turner of them all.
Put together your most impressive turning combo. Post a video online. Share your turns with us and thousands of other dancers around the world. And if our editors think you're the top turner, you'll win a fabulous prize.
There are dancers and then there are DANCERS! Whitney Jensen, soloist at Norwegian National Ballet, is the latter. The former Boston Ballet principal can do it all. From contemporary to the classics this prima has the technical talent most bunheads dream about. Need proof? Look no further.
Consistent turns are a must for aspiring professional dancers, but pretty much everyone struggles with pirouettes at some point. Luckily, since we're all beholden to the same rules of physics, there are concrete steps every dancer can take to reach his or her top turning potential. “Three is the new two when it comes to pirouettes, but the secret to turning is technique, not magic," says Bojan Spassoff, president and director of The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia.
Falling out of your doubles? Aspiring to go revolution for revolution with your class's star turner? No matter where you lie on the turning spectrum, our 360-degree guide to pirouettes will help you improve.
So, I haven't been pirouetting much for a few years now. But when I was dancing, I used to have this amazing recurring dream, which still haunts me:
I go to do a pirouette. It becomes clear that I am exactly, perfectly on balance. I have a realization that as long as I keep spotting, I'll be able to turn...forever. Spot. Spot. Spot. Spot. Spot...
Today, I discovered that American Ballet Theatre principal Gillian Murphy is living my dream IRL. Her REALITY is a beautiful fantasy world in which pirouettes just go on for, you know, however long she feels like it.
Here's the proof, as documented by fellow ABT principal Daniil Simkin:
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com for a chance to be featured!
We've all had that amazing pirouette dream.
You know the one I'm talking about: The one where you go into a turn, realize you're perfectly, absolutely, unshakably on-balance, and just. keep. spotting.
5 turns. 6 turns. 7. 8. 9. TEN.
But there are a select few superhumans who live that dream every day. And Sophia Lucia is one of them.
Yes, we already knew she could pull out dozens of turns in tap shoes. These days, however, her pirouettes on pointe are just as insanely impressive.
Instagram don't lie:
Want this to be your reality? Click here for turning tips from Sophia and other experts in the field.
(Fun fact: In the clip above, Sophia is rehearsing one of the "Odalisque" variations from Le Corsaire. There's gorgeous video out there of another dream pirouetter, American Ballet Theatre's Gillian Murphy, doing the same solo as a baby ballerina. If you want to sustain your turning high, you should watch it immediately—main pirouette sequence starts 24 seconds in:)
They're all gonna be great turners someday. Well, except that munchkin on the left. (photo Heather Donlan Photography)
Not all of us are born with Gillian Murphy's innate turning ability. But if you're having trouble with your pirouettes, try this neat trick: Smile while you're turning.
Easy peasy, right? Here's why it works:
First, many dancers frown in concentration as they turn, especially if they're struggling. But that stiffens the muscles in your neck and jaw, which makes spotting nearly impossible—and, in turn (hah! see what I did there?), clean pirouettes difficult. Smiling will relax your face, allowing you to spot more naturally.
But there's another advantage to putting on a happy face. A recent study showed that tension in the jaw was often connected to tension in the hips and pelvis. So relaxing your jaw will also loosen up your hip joints, creating more space for rotation and making for a cleaner, better-balanced passé.