Forum: Ballet / Pointe - General

Echappes & Turns En Pointe
By J_Dancer
On Tue Jul 08, 2014 08:33 PM

Before I go into a detailed post, allow me to first say that I've barely been en pointe for more than 6 weeks, but I'm moving along extremely quickly because of the strength in my ankles and overall body muscles.

The other girls in my class have been en pointe for about a year now, but because of my strength, I'm catching up to them at an increasingly rapid rate. During my first class I recall only being corrected twice. My instructor asked if I felt ready to try a combination incorporating bourees and echappes. I was told the bourees were great (Which was rather surprising considering I'd never tried any and attempted to perform them solely from watching my other classmates. My echappes, however, clearly needed some work. I couldn't seem to get over my box all the way. I was able to come up off my feet, but the tip of the box of my shoes just barely touched the floor. Note that this was later in the class, so my feet were a bit dull and exhausted, but still regardless of the state I was in, I was wondering if I could have some tips on how to get notably improved echappes?

In addition to asking for tips about echappes, I was also looking for tips on performing pirouettes, chaines, and pique turns. I have yet to attempt a pirouette en pointe, but my instructor expressed her feelings to me, saying she feels I'm ready to participate with the other students during the period of time we practice our turns. The problem is I don't know how.

I am already capable of doing chaine and pique turns, unfortunately I struggle with gracefully performing them quickly. I tend to move rather slow en pointe but in soft shoes I can move at a very fast pace. So how can I move faster?

All answers are greatly appreciated, so let me express my gratitude in advance by saying thank you to those posting a reply :)

8 Replies to Echappes & Turns En Pointe

re: Echappes & Turns En Pointe
By GannTheGloriousmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue Jul 08, 2014 09:14 PM
Echappes were SO hard for me, and even a year after finally getting good center echappes, if I'm fatigued or slack the littlest bit they turn awful!

The trick to doing echappes is coordinating the outward movement and the upward movement. You don't want to push out while you still down in demi pointe--it's really hard to push out from there. You also don't want to rise to full pointe too early because there it's also too hard to push out. You want to get out a little and up a little to the back edge of your box and push out and over to second from there. Practice them slowly at the barre over and over. They're all about finding that spot where you can get up and out!
re: Echappes & Turns En Pointe
By J_Dancer
On Wed Jul 09, 2014 07:47 AM
Edited by J_Dancer (267441) on 2014-07-09 07:49:26 Had to add information.
Thank you for your advice. I'll keep in mind what you have said and hopefully apply this in class today. I know some things take time, however, so if I don't get this right away, I'll just continue to practice.
Also, I wanted to know, since you seem well educated and reasonable, if you believe I'm moving too fast. My teacher, a reliable instructor who danced for the Boston Ballet, believes I'm capable of dancing with the experienced girls, but I wanted to know what you thought. It's not like I'm not learning proper technique, I am, just extremely quickly.
Additionally, do you have any advice for turns? You seem very kind and helpful :)
re: Echappes & Turns En Pointe
By maureensiobhan
On Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:06 AM
To do a pirouette, make sure first of all that your preparation is firm and solid. The preparation is the most important part of a pirouette. Make sure that the majority of your weight is over the front foot. Think more about going up to releve. Once you have this firm and solid, then work on the turn.

As for tour chaine, think about stepping forward from sous-sus to sous-sus. Try to imagine you are on a gymnast's balance beam. Use the same mental image for tour pique. This will help you stay on a straight line.

For these turns, learn the technique of spotting. Keep your eyes focussed on one small object.

Remember, you haven't been en pointe for very long. It's going to take time and practice to learn these turns. Do them slowly at first to get the feel for turning in pointe shoes. They will improve with time and practice.
re: Echappes & Turns En Pointe
By Elindranythmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Jul 10, 2014 08:47 AM
Jumping right into center work can certainly be intimidating. I did a lot of prep at the barre and that definitely helped, but a lot of it is just having the confidence to try. If you're not yet feeling confident enough to try in center, ask for alternate options that you can do at the barre for a few weeks to get the feel of the step.

For eschappes in second, what helps me is to remember its a slide, not a jump, and then I think about pushing my heel towards where my ribbons cross. That mental image helps me to push over my box better. For fourth I have no good advice, I am still pretty terrible at those :(

For piques we did them at the barre without turning, then away from the barre without turning to get the idea of the mechanics. For chaines we did them slowly at the barre for the same reason. For pirouettes we did my teachers favorite "build up to a pirouette" exercise where we do 4 retire balances, 4 1/4 turns, 4 1/2 turns and finally 4 full turns. Pirouettes were definitely the most difficult for me, I still struggle with them after 3 years en pointe.
re: Echappes & Turns En Pointe
By J_Dancer
On Fri Jul 11, 2014 09:28 AM
maureensiobhan wrote:

To do a pirouette, make sure first of all that your preparation is firm and solid. The preparation is the most important part of a pirouette. Make sure that the majority of your weight is over the front foot. Think more about going up to releve. Once you have this firm and solid, then work on the turn.

As for tour chaine, think about stepping forward from sous-sus to sous-sus. Try to imagine you are on a gymnast's balance beam. Use the same mental image for tour pique. This will help you stay on a straight line.

For these turns, learn the technique of spotting. Keep your eyes focussed on one small object.

Remember, you haven't been en pointe for very long. It's going to take time and practice to learn these turns. Do them slowly at first to get the feel for turning in pointe shoes. They will improve with time and practice.


Thank you for your advice. I suppose I just need to break down the pirouettes. I tend to go from fourth, which I find easiest, but when I actually turn, I find myself unable to get on pointe, I instead turn on demi pointe! I think I'll apply what you said about getting to releve before turning. And yes, I'm aware that I haven't been en pointe very long, I suppose I just need to give it time and be patient.

Thank you :)
re: Echappes & Turns En Pointe
By J_Dancer
On Fri Jul 11, 2014 09:33 AM
Edited by J_Dancer (267441) on 2014-07-11 09:35:37
Elindranyth wrote:

Jumping right into center work can certainly be intimidating. I did a lot of prep at the barre and that definitely helped, but a lot of it is just having the confidence to try. If you're not yet feeling confident enough to try in center, ask for alternate options that you can do at the barre for a few weeks to get the feel of the step.

For eschappes in second, what helps me is to remember its a slide, not a jump, and then I think about pushing my heel towards where my ribbons cross. That mental image helps me to push over my box better. For fourth I have no good advice, I am still pretty terrible at those :(

For piques we did them at the barre without turning, then away from the barre without turning to get the idea of the mechanics. For chaines we did them slowly at the barre for the same reason. For pirouettes we did my teachers favorite "build up to a pirouette" exercise where we do 4 retire balances, 4 1/4 turns, 4 1/2 turns and finally 4 full turns. Pirouettes were definitely the most difficult for me, I still struggle with them after 3 years en pointe.

Thank you for your advice!
I definitely have to try the pirouette exercise!
As for your first comment about confidence, know that I do feel confident, I just want to improve. And jumping into center work doesn't have to be intimidating, just know your limits.
Thank you once again :)

(EDIT: And I have to admit, echappes from fourth are just the worst!)
re: Echappes & Turns En Pointe
By taxi4ballet
On Sun Jul 13, 2014 08:51 AM
Asked my dd - she says that for echappes in 2nd, you do a smaller 2nd position than normal. If your feet are too far apart you will not be able to get over.
re: Echappes & Turns En Pointe
By DanceHeart99member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Jul 20, 2014 11:31 PM
For pirouettes, think of it as only a releve. It's easy to kind of hop onto a bent leg en pointe, but have the image of scooping your box to where your arch was, and less about crunching and muscling to get around. A single pirouette takes almost no momentum especially with pointe shoes on, so getting around is by far the hardest part. Remember everything you know about turning on flat

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