Tips from Gillian Murphy and Ethan Stiefel from The Ballet Companion
- Don’t move your front heel before you turn.
- Push off with both legs, but keep your weight forward.
- Relevé strongly and quickly. Pull up from the back of the leg right under your buttocks to get on your supporting leg.
- Use your spot. Free the head and relax the upper body.
- Good turns come from your work throughout the barre and center, especially from pliés, relevés and petit allegro.
- You know both a good and a bad turn immediately, and in a bad turn, you know to cut your losses. A good turn feels easy.
- Don’t sacrifice form. There’s no point to lots of turns without form. In fact, everyone just wants them to stop.
- There’s a smaller turning surface when turning on pointe, but not much difference in placement. You feel higher off the ground.
- You gain mastery through repetition—but not repetition of your mistakes. Make sure to practice correctly.
Pirouette Tips from Ethan Stiefel
- Learn to turn first. Form is important, but it comes later. Get the coordination of the spot first, and then clean up your position.
- There’s a moment of stillness essential to the preparation of a turn. For me, it’s at the outset in fifth position, before the quick rond de jambe into fourth. Power and momentum in the pirouette actually originate in that moment.
- Relax and exhale so you can float through your turn.
- Get to retiré position quickly. I prefer a high retiré above the knee, but there isn’t necessarily one perfect position.
- Success in a turn depends on a strong center. Strength and calmness come from your center; when doing air turns, it’s your only friend.
- There are turns, there are pirouettes and then there are spins. Don’t squeeze out an extra pirouette onstage; don’t throw in the ugly one.
- The music decides when a turn is done, and the turn decides for itself; its momentum tells you to finish.
- My favorite pirouettes are plain old pirouettes en dehors in retiré. It’s a perfect position. There’s a reason we turn in this position. Clean never goes out of style.
- Turns en dehors felt natural to me, but en dedans did not. What helped was a change in attitude. Don’t think of turning as a numbers thing. Do the right thing to set yourself up and let it happen.
- Repetition is the key. To improve your turns, practice them over and over again.
Dancer Yesenia Ayala first caught our eye in the off-Broadway production of Sweet Charity with Sutton Foster earlier this year. So, we were super excited when we found out she was making her Broadway debut in this spring's sweetest new show Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (Both productions were choreographed by Joshua Bergasse.)
Since the NYC premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's Whipped Cream at American Ballet Theatre's spring gala Monday night, the DS editors haven't stopped talking about its creepy-cute sets and costumes, created by artist Mark Ryden. Well, the obsession is about to get even crazier, because we just heard that Ryden's artwork for the ballet is now on display in not one, but TWO locations in NYC.
Yes, yes, we know: Dancers are athletes as well as artists. But we haven't seen anything hammer home just HOW athletic dancers are quite as well as this video from Self magazine, which features American Ballet Theatre principal/fairy princess Isabella Boylston trying to teach top-level CrossFit enthusiasts ballet.
There's a reason Mia Michaels' nickname is "Mama Mia." The legendary choreographer invests deeply in her dancers, whether they're competitors on "So You Think You Can Dance," members of the Radio City Rockettes, or part of her own elite assistant squad. And now, Michaels is launching a project that aims to give more dancers access to her gifts as a teacher and mentor.
And that's a wrap on "Dancing with the Stars" Season 24, ladies and gents! It's certainly been one for the books. From injuries to shocking eliminations, let's just say Season 24 has had its emotional ups and downs. But despite all that, the season made for some seriously phenom dancing and some killer performances. And as usual, we've loved watching every second of those cha chas, foxtrots, and waltzes.
Let's get right to the exciting stuff, though: Last night's winning couple of "Dancing with the Stars" is...
Nearly 80,000 dance-loving Instagram followers can't be wrong: Quinn Starner is one to watch. And what's just as impressive as the 15-year-old's rabid online following is her ever-growing list of competition accolades. Quinn, who trains at Indiana Ballet Conservatory and Stars Dance Company, been named first runner-up at The Dance Awards for two years in a row (as a junior and a teen); was the 2016 West Coast Dance Explosion Teen National Champion; earned first place in contemporary and third place in the classical division at Youth America Grand Prix Regionals in Pittsburgh last year; has won the Grand Prix Award at ADC|IBC; and was a gold medalist at World Ballet Art Competition Grand Prix. Plus, she made it to the Academy round on last year's "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation," and has performed as Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Here's what Quinn has to say about her favorite songs, teachers, and career highlights.