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


Dean Barucija, Courtesy Lopes Gomes

Chloé Lopes Gomes Speaks Out About Racial Harassment at Staatsballett Berlin

In November, the French dancer Chloé Lopes Gomes went public with accusations of institutional racism against Staatsballett Berlin, first reported by the German magazine Der Spiegel. In the article, several anonymous dancers confirm her account. Lopes Gomes, 29, who trained in Marseille and at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, danced for the Ballet de l'Opéra de Nice and Béjart Ballet Lausanne before joining Staatsballett Berlin as a corps de ballet member in 2018, under then co-directors Johannes Öhman and Sasha Waltz. After the company told her in October that her contract, which ends in July, would not be renewed, she shared her story with Pointe.


I didn't know I was the first Black female dancer at Staatsballett Berlin when I joined the company in 2018. I learned that from German journalists who came to interview me almost immediately. I grew up in a mixed-race family—my mother was French, my father from Cape Verde—and I was educated to believe that we all have the same opportunities.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB

NYCB's Maria Kowroski Reflects on the Challenges, Joys and Mysteries of Balanchine’s "Mozartiana"

The first time I was called to learn Mozartiana, I didn't think I would actually get to do it. It's a coveted ballerina role in the company, and I was still early in my career. But I got to dance it once or twice, and then not again for many years. The ballet isn't in our repertoire that often, so each time we've performed it I've been at a different level as a person and as an artist.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Melina Nastazia, Courtesy Jessica Flynn

Former “Baby Ballerina” Jessica Flynn on Her YA Novel and the Secrets to Surviving in Ballet

Most young dancers dream about how Jessica Flynn's ballet career began. After performing several lead roles at School of American Ballet's Workshop and winning the prestigious Mae L. Wien Award in 2002, she got an apprenticeship with New York City Ballet at age 16 and her corps contract less than a year later. Some soloist roles followed, and she appeared to have a bright future at the company. But just before her three-year mark, she left NYCB and never performed professionally again.

Flynn is now a ballet teacher, a holistic health coach for performing artists, a candidate for a master's in social work, a wife and a new mom. She's also an author. In 2016, she published Dancing in Time, the fictional tale of Charlie, a 37-year-old marketing executive who can't shake the failure of her ballet career. She wakes up one morning in her 17-year-old body, and has the chance to redo her career with the benefit of hindsight. The book deals with themes of extreme competition, body image and weight, disempowering relationships, and how all of these factors can suck the joy out of dancing—yet it's surprisingly humorous and entertaining.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks