Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By chaine_boi
On 02/12/2006 06:14:11
Well I saw the leap guide and not to be outdone I decided to put turns in here. Hope you like the guide:

[big]chaine_boi's Guide to a Perfect Turn[/big]

1)Spotting. Without it you will end up not knowing where you are. You will get dizzy. You will fall on your butt. How to spot? Spotting is a whipping movement of the head while turning. It is when you keep your vision focused on one thing and keep looking at it. As you turn, you whip your head around as fast as possible to keep looking at that object. You will never get fouette turns or a triple pirouette if you don't know how to spot! A good spotting exercise is looking at yourself in the mirror and turning very slowly. When you can't turn your neck anymore to see yourself, whip it around so you can see yourself again.

2)Strong core stability. This is mostly your abs. I find that people with stronger abs can do better turns that those without. If you don't have strong abs, a good excercise is to lie on your back, lift both legs straight up to the ceiling (pointe feet), lift your shoulders up like you are doing a sit-up, point your arms to the front and pulse them up and down. Do 8 slow pulses (it helps to have a beat), then do 16 fast pulses. Repeat this and you should feel a burn in your abs. When you turn, it helps to contract your abs, squeeze your po-po (bum-bum), and have very stable arms. Your turn will suck if you are weak, and without stability, you will fall before you can get a double. Strong core stability equals better balance. And maintain a good posture!

3)Plie when you prep. You will find it hard to get into a good pirouette without that plie. Your chaines will be extra hard if you don't utilize your plie (if it's in the choreography). Your pencil turns will flop. You need your turns to come from the ground. Put your weight on the leg that you are going to be turning on. Also, if you are doing a stamp-turn, that is your prep for a turning-jump, so you will plie on that.

4)Get into your turn, quickly now! Don't take forever to get from your prep into your turn. Releve means "quickly rise". Snap into your turns. Also, remember when your releve into a pirouette, to slide your foot under you like have an inch or so. It really helps with your balance. A good exercise for this is to stand at the barre. Both legs in jazz first, plie. Then releve quickly in first posistion. Plie, then releve on your right leg, retire on your left. Plie, releve both legs in first again. Plie, releve on left leg, retire on your right. Also, in the center, you can do this exercise, but with a single pirouette with each releve/retire.

5)Stretch your knees and feet when you turn. Now, this doesn't apply to fouette's and a la seconde turns where you need to plie as you turn. However, when your knees are supposed to be stretched, stretch them like crazy. Drill a hole in the ground with your stretched feet and knees. When your foot is in retire, point it. Chaines look like crap with un-stretched legs. Stretched legs also help with your balance.

*Also remember to practice turns on both sides! Don't be a weak one sided dancer. You aren't good at fouette turns until you can do them on both legs. If one side sucks, then you can't say you can do fouette turns.

[b]Jazz Turns[/b]
Chaine (sheh-nay) - This is a turn where you take two steps on demi-point with both legs together to get a full rotation. Your first step should step out, and your second step should step in front so your body turns around with it. Usually beginners will end in a jazz rock. Remember to keep the legs and feet tight together.

Stamp-turn - There are two variations I know of this. One is where you stamp onto one leg (plie) and the other foot is behind you (stretched) about 3 inches of the ground. Then you step into releve on classical fifth (feet tight together). The other is when you stamp out and the other foot comes to coupe, then the other foot stamps in front so you do a turn. I use the second one more.

Pirouette (peer-ooh-et) - Start in fourth position, front foot on the ground, back foot on demi-pointe, both legs plie. Arms are in third, and the arm facing front should be the opposite of the foot that's in front (so right arm to left foot, vice-versa). This all happens at the same time: releve on your left foot, right leg comes to retire, arms come to jack-knife or shortened first. Now try the other side. If you are just learning pirouettes, it's best to not turn yet, but get used to balancing. And when you do start with single turns, don't use your arms to get around. The motion of your arms coming into shortened first should be enough if you have a good strong pirouette postion. And stay tight together so you don't throw off your momentum. The stronger your abs, the more turns you can do. It's really mostly your abs, I have found. You can start these from second, fourth, third or fifth if you want. Whatever the choreography calls for. Remember to turn in the direction of the arm that is stretch out front. So if you are on your right foot, you turn counter-clockwise, and left is clockwise. You can do them the other way but those are harder and used less often in choreography.

Pencil Turn or Soutenu (soo-ten-ooh): This is like a pirouette. You can start from fourth. Right foot plie, left foot demi-point. Arms in third again. Now, this time, here is what happens. Right foot releve, left foot stretches and steps slightly behind, arms come to bras bas (or whatever you want), and as you turn, your legs come together. Your left foot should be half and inch off the ground, so your weight should be on your right, though both feet are on demi-pointe. Also, you can do "classical" soutenus: start with a prep from second rather than fourth. When you turn, the working leg points and stays in second at a 45 degree angle. Both legs are stretched, arms usually in shortened first.

Pique or Pose (poe-zay)- Start with the left foot in plie, and the right foot in front, pointed with just the pinky toe touching the ground. Arms in third (right arm forward). Ronde de jambe the right foot along the ground to second, keeping the right leg very straight. Then step to demi-point on the right foot as your left foot comes to a turned-out retire (passe), with the toes touching behind the knee. Spot to the side. When you come down, you step with your left and ronde de jambe the right foot at the exact same time so you can keep doing these over and over again to the beat. Never ever ever bend the supporting leg. Don't forget to do these to the other side. Arms are in shortened first, and this is an inside turn (clockwise on the right, counter-clockwise on the left). Try doing a pose then when you come around extend your retire into an arabesque and lean forward.

Pose in Attitude - Simple do a pose turn, but with the working leg coming to attitude to the back (derriere). The arms come to jazz fourth, classical fourth, or classical fourth attitude.

Fouette Turn - These are tricky and take lots of work to get. You start in classical fourth (turned out). Left foot is behind, and should be on the ground. Right foot is front, and on demi-point. Do a pirouette in a slight plie (with a turned out retire), then as you face the front, your retire extends to the front and sweeps to the side (that is the fouette) as your supporting legs stretches up. You use this momentum and pirouette again (with a slight plie). Really ask your teacher about these, and it helps to practice the fouette motion at the barre before trying these. Remember that when your working legs fouettes to second (at 90 degrees), both legs should be stretched. Your legs should be turned out at all times. Your arms should be in shortened first. It helps to extend your right arm slightly to the side as your right foot fouettes, but never let your arm lead. Strong core-stability really helps here. You can do these many times in a row. It also helps to start these with a pique, then step, pirouette, foette, pirouette, fouette...

A La Seconde Turn - Like a fouette, but your working leg doesn't return to retire. It stays in second, and you use the motion from your supporting leg to keep you going around. Also, as you face the front, your arms come to second, then shortened first as you turn again.

Jumping Chaine or Saut De Basque - Step to the side like in a chaine, but your left foot comes to retire. Arms should be in second. Bring your right leg to retire (both legs in retire) and now your arms are in shortened first, and as you come around, your left leg steps down. Land in a jazz rock, or inverted chasse out of it. Do whatever you want. Also, you can do a lasoo with the arms. As you turn, your arms stay in second, your left arm swings up and over the head (through classical fourth) and back to second as you land. Remember that it's the right arm that lasoos when you arm doing this turn to your left.

Axel - You prep with a stamp turn (the second one) to the right. As your step with your left leg, your right leg fouettes to second and then both legs tuck under you as you turn. Your right arm should whip out with your right leg and come over your head as both legs tuck. Bring back down the left leg, arms back in shortend first, and land the right leg out in a jazz rock position. Also, if you want a challenge, try doing an axel straight into a pirouette (so your foot doesn't leave retire.

Illusion - I think the reason these are called illusions is because they look so hard, yet are pretty easy in fact. You need your side splits for this one. To prepare before doing this turn, practice your needle stand against a wall, getting into your split as much as possible. A needle is where your torso drops and one leg lifts behind you so you create a straight line with the torso and that leg. After practicing some needles with a wall, do needle kicks (without the wall). Once you are warm, take 2 walks, right left. On the third step, right, you bring the left leg up behind you, and drop the torso so your head is by your knee, and come into your needle pose, arms in ballet 5th, turning outside (counter-clockwise if on the right leg). Spot to the front or side. As you come around, drop your left leg and lift your torso. As you land, step with your left leg. So when going across the floor, it's (on beat) walk walk illusion walk... and so forth.

Double Attitude Turn - Stamp turn to the right, then leap out of it, with your right leg in attitude devant, left leg in attitude derriere. Then chaine out of it, or you can land in a drop.

Baryshnikov - Really a leap, but I will put it here anyways. Stamp turn to the right, then jete straight out of it, with the back leg either straight or in attitude. Either chaine out of it, or do a crumple drop into a demi-fan roll. Arms come to ballet fourth with the right arm extended, or high V.

**Remember to practice your turns on each side. If you have a bad side, don't just ignore it. Actually work on that side until it is as good as your good side. And dance isn't all about how many turns you can do. It's about the quality of your performance and how appropriate your choreography is for a song, how it matches the style, and how you yourself interpret the choreography and make it look spectacular and easy.

I decided to write this guide for anyone who is having some trouble with turns. If this helps anyone, then I am satisfied. Feedback or extra comments are also appreciated.
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By Cuddlepoo
On 02/12/2006 12:55:17
I am having trouble with turns! Thanks for the post I've printed it out. Does anyone know of a site with some good video clips of turns?
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By candianteacher
On 02/14/2006 15:31:00
This should be made a sticky. Nicely explained.
Good explanation
By natdancer1
On 02/14/2006 16:45:47
That was really helpful, in dance class, we always tell each other that we are supposed to do when we are turning, instead what not to do, because we'll start thinking of what not to do and we'll end up doing it. It really works, if you think about what we are supposed to do.
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
On 02/15/2006 02:17:23
That was awesome! Thanks for putting that up!
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By TheStunningOne
On 02/19/2006 10:38:04
thanks for the tips because I do need them!
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By i_LuV_2_dAnCe67
On 02/20/2006 00:11:40
Thanks heaps, I really do need help with turns, you helped me alot

re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By LiViNg_It_Up_09
On 02/21/2006 20:06:26
you are my hero! thanks so much because ive been having trouble with my double attitude turns for the LONGEST time. the tips will probably get me going in no time. thanks a bunch!
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By DanceDenDancer
On 02/28/2006 17:10:44
OMG!!! Thank you so much I'll take your advice with the abs!! Can you explain what a stamp turn is please?
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
On 03/08/2006 13:51:53
thanks it was helpful
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By xXxstumblexXx
On 03/13/2006 19:53:20
hey thanx for that i had a heap of trouble under standing what u were saying but when i got up and tried it i figerd out what u ment thanx anyway!
By amber15172003
On 04/17/2006 13:16:27
i need help on my turns can someone please help me. please email me some tips at or just post it here or post it on myspace. my screen name is amberfromtexas.
love,amber thanx
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By MissAshley
On 04/19/2006 11:23:51
Great job! i really need help on making my jazz turns more sharp or quick. These may help .... ♥
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By dancer_mmkay
On 04/30/2006 15:12:14
this helped me so much. Turns arent my strongest point lol.
i think that i am gonna print this out and post it up. just to be able to see what im supposed to be doing.
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By Dancinbabi345
On 04/30/2006 21:27:37
thanks so not the best at turning i cant wait to try it all out
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By manderz219
On 05/07/2006 17:52:47
Thanks! I've been trying to get clean doubles on my left, and this helps a ton. Also I was just thrown into Fouettes so your explaining them helped!!
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By mackenzie2009
On 05/09/2006 07:43:37
thanks, i really need help with my turns! haha and my teachers have told me most of those, but not all... it was very helpful!
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
On 05/11/2006 09:10:41
thanks a lot i learned so much!
ive had trouble turning foreverrrrr
im sort of getting the hang of it now!
i like how you wrote out all the different types... very creative
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By sweet_thang2k
On 06/16/2006 17:15:55
this was very helpful. I love turning and I am glad my turns have improved. I can now hit 5-6 turns easily!. good thing the hard work has paid off.
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By Honey
On 07/22/2006 20:24:35
This has been up here since February, and I just now noticed it. Thats how smart I am. Anyway, thanks for making this, I've been working on my fouettes for a couple months now, and I can only do two good ones, so I'll try your advice.
illusion turn
By adidance1
On 08/02/2006 10:20:48
help i read the description i still need help i dont understand after i lift my leg and bring my head to my knees now what???
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By balletlover08
On 06/03/2007 23:52:28
hi!! i totally suck at turning!!... tnx for the tips..
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By dancegirl73
On 06/06/2007 13:32:57
It seems like those tips will really work, I'll try them!
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By dancingmom2
On 06/18/2007 23:12:33
That awesome and will be using these...thanks so much
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By shootforthestars
On 12/14/2007 21:24:11
Thank you for the advice. Can't wait to see my turns improve!
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By ssfierce04
On 04/17/2008 16:49:29
i love this it's great and it helps sooooo much. i'm up to four pirouettes now!
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
On 05/15/2008 18:13:41
very nicely explained! i'm having trouble with my double turns so i guess i'll be doing a lot of those pulses
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By shootforthestars
On 05/19/2008 13:39:34
thank you sooo much!
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By createthedance
On 07/29/2008 08:55:48
thanks for this im sure it will help since you can always improve on turns =]
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By pointegrl22
On 10/25/2008 12:48:57
Thanks! I needed the foutte turns, I can never get them! I don't like jazz as much as I do pointe. But, we all have our favorites.
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By NickfromDvalda
On 10/31/2008 10:39:17
This is essentially every correction I'd EVER been given on turns. Great guide, I can see that a lot of people are already seeing the effects of it. There are too many "help me with turns" threads, good to see that this is stickied (I didn't notice until today >_>)
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By ballerinadreams7
On 12/08/2008 17:53:11
Thank you so much, I think I have figured out what I need to do to get my triple DOWN! Or at least I hope so, this guide was really helpful. Thanks again.
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By xcounterpointe
On 02/18/2009 10:18:29
Alright. Question about turning. (And if this isn't the proper spot, feel free to delete/move as needed.) I'm wickedly inconsistent with my turns. I can usually pull out a solid triple, but anything more than that and it's quad here, quad there, fall out of a double, quint, messy triple. I'm really flexible and control is definitely not my strong point. I'm getting better at staying on top of my center and pulled up and stuff, but according to one of my teachers, none of that matters because my shoulders are going up and thus ruining the turn. The thing is, I feel like I'm pushing them down! I know my left leg is longer than my right and the reason why my hips are all over the place but is this my downfall for turns, too? Help me out here, guys! :(
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By isiscloud
On 04/09/2009 11:13:02
Thanks for posting this guide. I just did a double pirouette Tuesday night from a standing position and that's huge for me. One suggestion from my teach was to hold your arms in low first to gain structure and help with the core. It definitely made a difference. Also, do you really want to hold your bum in too much? I would think that would constrict movement and the structure should come more from the core. Just a thought. thanks
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By T_Dance_Girl
On 07/10/2009 10:48:49
Thjanks that helped alot!
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By dance2this2000
On 08/19/2009 16:32:12
Most of my students were taught to brush the leg through to the front (as Baryshnikov would have done) - but I learned at a workshop for the students to do consecutive ones, it is easier for them to get the torque if they fan the leading leg. What is your opinion - for consecutive turning jete attitudes; fan or brush?
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By iDancer518
On 08/19/2009 17:27:09
I'm soooo glad this became a sticky. There are so many dancers who have trouble with turns (including me at times. I can knock down a double, triple even a quadruple pirouette, but a single one is like climbing Mt. Everest...difficult lol) I'm positive this will be really helpful.
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By dancinhippo
On 09/18/2009 20:24:30
i really like your advice, but i have a question about one part: Also, remember when your releve into a pirouette, to slide your foot under you like have an inch or so. do you mean after you prepare and go to turn, you scoot your foot back?
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By msmegz
On 10/09/2009 08:44:46
How do you land your turns. I feel every teacher wants you to land them differently. One teacher has them land feet together one as them landing in fourth. The kids are confused on which is the correct way. I don't think there is a correct way it really depends on your next step.
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By Dance4evaa
On 12/04/2009 03:37:23
thanks that was really helpful!!!
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By aDancingGirl101
On 12/30/2009 16:11:56
Thanks so much for posting this!! I discovered something just a few seconds ago and I ran up here to type this in: Ok, so I noticed that when I fell out of my pirouette it was because I was leaning a little to much to the right (on my left foot, it was a right pirouette) so then I tried again and I felt myself about to fall out of it but then I straightened my left foot so that on demi (sp?) all the weight was spread out and then I finished it well!! I just thought I'd share that. :)I wonder if that would work with fouettes?
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By emmydance66
On 03/28/2010 16:35:55
Thanks this helped a lot! I'
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By emmydance66
On 03/28/2010 16:38:24
Thanks this helped a lot! I've been having a lot of trouble with my turns and this helped me realize what I've been doing wrong.
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By katiee_dancer
On 04/02/2010 11:17:04
Thank you for this! I'm not much of a turner; I pride myself in being a jumper(: Lately I've been discouraged with turning. I decided to get up and practice and after a few tries I did 4 pirouettes. (Normally I can only do a double) I realized the reason I could not as many before was because I was simply not spotting. So, thank you, this was a nice reminder:)
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By Nomesdina
On 04/21/2010 12:36:12
Great breakdown! Thank you!!!
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By kicklinequeen
On 05/23/2010 22:44:34
Thanks so much for the post! Turns are my weakest point as far as technique goes, and I believe that this will help very much. My biggest problem is keeping my back straight and not arching, but I am improving my core strength and will soon be able to keep it pulled in. I can't give karma yet, but the minute I can, the first bit goes straight to you!
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By kirsty_c3
On 01/22/2011 16:52:01
i have always struggled with turns. i start off spotting for the first few then find it really hard to focus and end up dizzy. extremely helpful thanks
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By ooglyboogly
On 07/04/2011 18:16:59
My teacher always says i drop my right shoulder and it throws off my balance, but i don't know how to fix it... oh well. practice makes perfect! I'm pretty good at illusions though.
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By misssplits95
On 10/05/2011 16:53:56
wow! this really helps thanks soooo much :)
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By caitydancerr
On 11/06/2011 14:02:26
This is a very well written guide. Thanks for all of the tips.
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By SKdancemom
On 12/13/2011 04:48:15
Excellent descriptions. I will share this one with my daughter who's jazz class has been doing so many turns she comes home dizzy!
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By dancerbaby10101
On 03/25/2013 19:53:17
Great guide! As an experienced dancer, I understand what you are saying about stamp turns. But I think that a newer dancer might not be able to visualize it as easily. Other than that, love it!(:
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By Tina87
On 08/16/2014 15:43:39
Nicely written instructions! It's worth it following your guide!
re: Guide to a Perfect Turn!
By SDAdancerLIM
On 06/07/2016 20:49:35
Wow. This guide is a great resource! Thank you so much for posting!

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