Getty Images

7 Tips for Improving Your Piqué Turns, Plus Advice for Practicing at Home

A string of piqué turns en dedans, says Erica Fischbach, director of Colorado Ballet Academy, should appear powerful yet effortless. "The effect you want to create is that you're flying." Here are her tips to achieve this as you whirl through the ends of your variations. Plus, don't miss the video below for Fischbach's advice on how to practice piqué turns while training at home.


Turn Out to Take Off

Focus on turning out your standing leg as you prepare in tendu devant for your piqué turns. "Don't do the 'pump'—that push on the toe to get a little momentum," says Erica Fischbach. "The most important thing, as you plié, is to feel that spiral rotation that never lets go or drops out. As you push off into the piqué, feel that your thigh and knee are opening and your back foot is scooping off the floor."

A young female dancer is shown in tendu crois\u00e9 devant from the knee down, wearing pink tights and pointe shoes.

Courtesy Colorado Ballet

Know Where You're Going

Begin with a rond de jambe, moving the tendu leg to second while opening the front arm to allongé. "Your hand, eye and foot are all in the same direction," says Fischbach. "Spot where you're going, unless the choreography asks for spotting front."

How to Fly

"There's a movement quality in a piqué turn manège that is almost unexplainable," Fischbach says. "To get that, you have to come down on balance so you can spring out again. You only do about half a turn on pointe. Slightly suspend that, and then come down with a fast whip to finish the turn. There's power on the down, but it's very quick, so we mostly see the up."

Five attached photos of Larson breaking down a piqu\u00e9 turn.

Colorado Ballet apprentice Ever Larson demonstrates how she aims for fifth as she lowers her retiré leg during piqué turns.

Courtesy Colorado Ballet

Aim for Fifth

The toe of the retiré foot should be at the back of the knee, Fischbach says, not kicking up towards your glutes or overcrossing into a figure 4. Aim for fifth as you come down, even though the front leg shoots out before you get there. This will help you keep your weight placed correctly over the back leg in between turns.

A Common Misstep

The goal is to step out beyond your extended foot, but Fischbach sees many dancers fall short of this. "They pull the toe back, step on a bent knee and kick the other foot up too high." As a result, dancers travel on the step down as well as the spring up. "Then your weight is in between your legs, and you have to do the old heave-ho—it's not neat and clear, and there's no quality or effect."

About Those Arms...

The port de bras for piqué turns should be simple and clear, from second position allongé in the plié to a solid first position in the turn. "Maintain the connection of the shoulder blades into your back, and have the chest open so those trapezius muscles aren't up near your ears and stopping you from spotting," says Fischbach. Neither arm should ever be behind you. "If you're swimming with your arms, it's not coordinated."

Double It

For a double piqué turn, the step out can be a little bit smaller to help you stop the forward momentum and stay on one point. "Think of a corkscrew going down into the floor," Fischbach says, "and keep an energetic lift through the spine. Make sure you feel the opposition, if you're turning to the right, of your left knee and right hip opening."

Latest Posts


Pacific Northwest Ballet's Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan, photographed by Jayme Thornton for Pointe

The Radiant Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan: Why She's One to Watch at Pacific Northwest Ballet

Hollywood could make a movie about Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan's big break at Pacific Northwest Ballet.

It was November 2017, and the company was performing Crystal Pite's film-noir–inspired Plot Point, set to music by Bernard Hermann from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. Ryan, then a first-year corps member, originally was understudying the role of another dancer. But when principal Noelani Pantastico was injured in a car accident, Ryan was tapped to take over her role.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Yonah Acosta in Sin La Habana, Courtesy Miami Film Festival

The Miami Film Festival Is Streaming 2 Films Spotlighting Cuban Ballet Dancers, Including Yonah Acosta

Many ballet companies are sharing digital productions these days, but if you want to get your ballet fix on the silver screen, the Miami Film Festival has something for you—and you don't have to fly to Miami to see it! Two ballet-centric films, the drama Sin La Habana (Without Havana) and documentary Cuban Dancer, will be featured in theaters and virtually at the 38th annual Miami Film Festival, running March 5 to 14.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Maria Kochetkova. Darian Volkova, Courtesy Kochetkova

Maria Kochetkova on How COVID-19 Affected Her Freelance Career, and Her New Home at Finnish National Ballet

When international star Maria Kochetkova embarked on a freelance career three years ago, she never envisioned how a global pandemic would affect it. In 2018, the Russian-born ballerina left the security of San Francisco Ballet, a company she called home for more than a decade, for the globe-trotting life of a guest star. Before the pandemic, Kochetkova managed her own performing schedule and was busier than ever, enjoying artistic freedom and expanding her creative horizons. This all changed in March 2020, when she saw her booming career—and her jet-setting lifestyle—change almost overnight.

After months of uncertainty, Kochetkova landed at Finnish National Ballet, where she is a principal dancer for the 2020–21 season. Pointe spoke with her about her time during the quarantine and what helped her to get through it, her new life in Helsinki, and what keeps her busy and motivated these days.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks