Thinkstock

6 Tips for Improving Your Double Pirouette from Fifth

Few turns make dancers more tempted to cheat than pirouettes from fifth, especially doubles. Colburn Dance Academy director Jenifer Ringer gives her tips for nailing them every time.


1. Have faith in your fifth: It's hard to trust that your fifth position will give you enough force to turn. As a result, Jenifer Ringer sees dancers "lean forward, stick their bottoms out or move their front legs so they're not really turning from fifth." Try practicing a clean single pirouette without cheating. "It takes figuring out," she acknowledges, but you'll add rotations "without losing the integrity of your technique."



Kyle Froman, Courtesy Dance Teacher.


"Press into the floor when you prepare," Ringer recommends, but keep it moving.

"The plié should build strength and momentum going into the relevé."

2. Keep your limbs close: "Don't let that working-side arm swing out behind you," says Ringer. "It goes front and away, then immediately comes back into [first] position." Similarly, "the working toe goes towards the supporting toe, then right up under your nose as you start to revolve."


3. Spot with rhythm: Use timing to develop consistency. "Find something to say to yourself every time, like, 'one-two-lift-land,' or 'spot-spot-lift-land.' "


4. Use your complete core: Ringer observes that students often tense up their backs without feeling "laced-up" in the front. "Feel both your stomach and your back, so there's a strong framework from your shoulder blades into your arms."


5. Pull up to come down: Lift the working knee a little bit, keeping the toes attached to the standing leg, at the end of the last rotation. "Keep your back and chest up so that you can end cleanly," she says, "and maintain the lift in your hips as you plié."


After a successful double turn,

put thought into it. What made it work?

6. "Don't let the ending be an ending." The end of the pirouette, Ringer points out, is the preparation for whatever movement is next, even if that's "hitting a beautiful position and then curtsying and running offstage."

Latest Posts


Left to right: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Daphne Lee, Amanda Smith, Lindsey Donnell and Alexandra Hutchinson in a scene from Dancing Through Harlem. Derek Brockington, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dancers Share Their Key Takeaways After a Year of Dancing on Film

Creating dances specifically for film has become one of the most effective ways that ballet companies have connected with audiences and kept dancers employed during the pandemic. Around the world, dance organizations are finding opportunities through digital seasons, whether conceiving cinematic, site-specific pieces or filming works within a traditional theater. And while there is a consistent sentiment that nothing will ever substitute the thrill of a live show, dancers are embracing this new way of performing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West

Ballet West Promotes Katlyn Addison and Hadriel Diniz to Principal; 8 Others Say Farewell

Last week, Ballet West announced that first soloists Katlyn Addison and Hadriel Diniz have been promoted to principal artist. The news marks a historic moment for the company.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Eighteen-year-old Sarah Patterson (foreground), with her classmates at New Ballet School. She's decided to stay home this summer to take advantage of outdoor, in-person classes. Courtesy New Ballet School.

Why Planning Summer Study This Year Is More Complicated Than Ever

When it comes to navigating summer intensives, 2021 may be more complicated for ballet students than last year. On the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic's spring spike in 2020, summer programs went all-virtual or had very limited capacity. This year is more of a mixed bag, with regulations and restrictions varying widely across state and county lines and changing week by week.

Between vaccines and variants, can students aim for a full calendar of intensive training at local and national summer programs?

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks