Photo by Travis Kelley, courtesy Kathryn Morgan

Dear Katie: I Can't Turn!

In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com 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?

Callie


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.

Latest Posts


Martha Graham Dance Company's Xin Ying (James Jin, courtesy Ying)

How to Dance Outside

We've all been stubbing our toes and whacking our elbows dancing in less-than-roomy indoor spots lately (hello, 5' x 8' patch of bathroom tile). If you're lucky enough to have access to a backyard or other big green space right now, you're probably itching to take your grand allegro outside, especially as the weather gets warmer. But how can you dance safely and productively in the great outdoors? We got pro tips from Mike Tyus of Jacob Jonas The Company and Xin Ying of Martha Graham Dance Company, both of whom were dancing outside long before COVID-19 hit.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Kendall Moshay competing at Youth America Grand Prix (VAM Photo, courtesy Kendall)

Here's How to Keep Your Competition Solo Performance-Ready While Quarantining

When you're bored in the house (and you're in the house bored), Nationals can feel like a dream that might never come true. But Kendall Moshay, Hollywood Vibe's Intermediate Dancer of the Year 2019, knows that now is the time to make like a Girl Scout and be prepared: "Sooner or later, everything will go back to normal—and you don't want to be left behind." Here are some top tips to keep your competition solo totally stage-ready, even when you couldn't be farther from a stage.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Congrats to Our 2020 Dance Grad Cover Stars!

We're thrilled to be honoring members of the great Dance Class of 2020 on special digital covers. One new cover star will be revealed every day during the month of May. Take a look at our winners so far below—we'll be updating the list daily. And if you're a 2020 high school or college dance senior, enter here from now through May 31st for your chance to be on the cover!

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search