What is going on, FTT Family and welcome back! Today we’re grabbing our toe pads, toe spacers and jet glue, because we’re about to discuss another pointe topic! This post will be centered around turns en pointe. We’ll be covering technique tips that can be applied to various turns en pointe including chaines, piques, pirouettes, etc. We’ll also be covering how to fix some common mistakes to not only help you improve, but also to keep you safe. Now, with all of that said, let’s bourre right into it!
“Plie Will Get You Everywhere…Literally“
Our first tip covers a couple of mistakes that are innocently made when trying to master turns en pointe. One of which is hopping up onto the box when executing a turn. Naturally, the physics of doing a turn on your tiptoes is night and day from doing a turn on the balls of your feet There’s so much more space between your starting point and your execution point that it may seem like “How am I going to get all the way ‘up there’ and back in enough time’?” This is where the hop usually comes into play. The pressure to accurately hit the mark of your chaine, pique or especially your pirouette can cause you to quickly make one big hop onto your box in order to execute the turn.
Another common mistake that I see mostly in beginners is entering into a turn by stepping up onto the box of the turning leg with a turned in foot and a bent knee, and then straightening it as you turn. This is most commonly seen with chaines and piques. However, the remedy to both of the mistakes mentioned above is using your plie. We all know that a deep plie naturally provides momentum to get you around in a turn, but in terms of pointe, your plie will also help you gain the momentum to roll through your shoe and get you up onto the box in enough time without the risk of injury. So keep that turning let straight at all times, dig deep into your plies and don’t let timing pressure you. Plie momentum will allow you to meet your marks with power, control and safety! And since we’ve mentioned the subject of your box…
“Trust The Box”
As funny as it may sound, one of my biggest concerns when I first start learning turns en pointe was “What if I freakishly roll over the box?!” So if any of our From The Top Family are having the same thoughts, please allow me to give you some assurance. The solace that we have to trust that our box will support our turns is really found mostly in the fitting sessions of our pointes. I’m not a professional at pointe fittings, but I do know that the way the box of a shoe fits on a dancer’s foot is of the utmost importance to finding the right one. If your box is too wide for your feet, you most likely won’t be able to reach full pointe. If your box is too narrow for your feet, you will most likely knuckle and fall over your box. So when a pointe shoe is fitted, inspections are made from yourself and your fitter to guarantee that you have the perfect box for the width of your toes. With that being said, if you have assurance that your box is of the perfect fit, then you have full license to trust it. When you think of it, your box is really your partner in all of this, since this is the true surface that you will be balancing/turning on. The box is your “turn en pointe” bestie and we should all trust our besties, right?
“Implement The Tried and True Turn Basics”
Now, this next segment are technique tips that are well mentioned whether en pointe or out. Just like executing a pirouette, chaine or pique in flats, remember to tighten your core and pull up as you turn. This will better distribute your body weight, which is of the utmost importance en pointe especially. Also, use that turn out to make sure you are in proper alignment and don’t forget to spot!
“Keep Your Body With You”
This next and final tip is one of my personal favorites that I love to share with any student who may be working on their turns en pointe, and this is to keep your body directly on top of your turning leg. Sometimes we can have the natural pull to shift our upper body forward a tad when turning, or even lean back a bit. However, if there is anything that is going to set you off balance, it is most definitely that! By leaning back you run the risk of not getting on top of your box, which ultimately leads to a turn that is executed in a very weird semi demi-pointe way. Meanwhile, on the opposite end, leaning forward will more than likely result in dramatic fall forward or…a face plant. The remedy, however, is very simple. Be sure to bring your body with you and never let it leave. Don’t let it lean forward and get ahead of you, and don’t let it lean back to linger behind. Keep your upper body upright and directly over your turning foot. You’ll get around in your turn much cleaner and with less hassle!
We hope you all enjoyed these technique tips today and most importantly, we hope that they will be of the greatest use to you as you work to improve your turns en pointe! We thank you all so much for rocking with us today and until our next blog post, remember…