Dancer to Dancer

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 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.

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