Dear Katie: I Can't Turn!

Photo by Travis Kelley, courtesy Kathryn Morgan

In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

I can't turn, and it's awful. No matter how many tips and tricks I try, I can barely pull off double pirouettes. What's wrong with me? Am I just not a "natural" turner? Is that even a real thing?


Dear Callie,

It does seem like some dancers are just born doing beautiful pirouettes, right? And it can be frustrating if you don't feel like a "natural" turner.

But here's my pirouette secret: Turning is 90 percent mental. No matter how strong or talented you are, if you get too in your head about turning, it'll never work. If your brain is telling your body "You can't turn!", your muscles will automatically tense up, and the odds of pulling off a successful pirouette will be against you before you even start your preparation.

Relax. The worst that can happen is you'll fall out of your turn—and get to try again! Think about loosening your neck muscles, which can free up your spotting and give you a better turn. Your leg positioning can also make a difference. Pull up in your supporting hip to give yourself as straight and strong a supporting leg as possible, and snap quickly into a high, well-placed passé. You can do this!

For more of Katie's helpful tips and advice, click here.

Dancer to Dancer
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers by clicking on their names here:

Read Darriel's profile here

Read Diego's profile here

Read Emma's profile here

And then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.

We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.

Cover Model Search
Madison Jordan and Jarrod Tyler Paulson brought their real-life romance to the audition stage. (Adam Rose/FOX)

It's usually right around the third or fourth week of "So You Think You Can Dance" audition rounds that we start itching for the live shows. Sure, the auditions are fun, inspiring, and entertaining, but at a certain point, we reach audition saturation. (And the live shows are just so good and feature so much more Cat Deeley.)

All that said, Nigel and co. kept things spicy this week, so our attention remained firmly glued to the screen. (It's been 16 seasons—who are we to doubt Nigel Lythgoe, sir?) Here's how it all went down.

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Dance on TV
Photo by Erin Baiano

When it comes to injury-prone body parts, knees reign supreme for dancers. But a little strengthening can go a long way in preventing painful outcomes. We turned to Dirk Hartog, a physical therapist with Westside Dance Physical Therapy in NYC, for three exercises that'll support and stabilize your knees.

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