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."

News
Stella Abrera in Alexei Ratmansky's The Seasons. Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT.

Yesterday, Kaatsbaan, the Tivoli, NY-based cultural park for dance, announced that Stella Abrera will join the organization as its new artistic director, effective January 1, 2020. This news come just weeks after we learned that Abrera will be taking her final bow with American Ballet Theatre in June.

Keep reading... Show less
Rachel Neville, Courtesy Audition Dancewear

When you dig through your collection of leotards before class, do you ever think about how they're made, or what they're made from? Chances are, most dancers don't, and Audition Dancewear wants to do something about that.

The company—run by two mother-daughter duos, Kathy and Caroline Perry and Shelly and Suzanna Lathrum—has begun making leotards from recycled materials to reduce their carbon footprint and raise awareness around plastic consumption. The result is a sleek line of leos that don't sacrifice style or function, and that use four or five recycled water bottles per leo.

Keep reading... Show less
News
Francesca Hayward (center) in Cats (courtesy NBCUniversal)

Get excited, Jellicle fans: It's almost time meow!

We're about a month out from the release of the new movie version of Cats. To mark the occasion, the film's team has dropped another dance-filled trailer. The vid offers further peeks at Andy Blankenbuehler's choreography—and at the "digital fur technology"-enhanced versions of the celebrities (dance-world and, uh, world-world) involved, from Taylor Swift to Francesca Hayward.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by The Rock School
From left: Sarah Lapointe, Derek Dunn and Jeanette Kakareka. Courtesy The Rock School

For more than five decades, The Rock School for Dance Education has been launching young dancers into professional ballet careers around the globe. Boasting distinguished alumni such as Beckanne Sisk, Michaela DePrince and Taylor Stanley, the Philadelphia-based institution has garnered a well-deserved reputation for pairing rigorous training with a tight-knit, welcoming community. Their summer intensives are no different, with a wealth of prestigious faculty members, many of whom are Rock School alums currently dancing at companies around the world.

What inspires busy pros to keep returning to their alma mater? We talked to three of The Rock School's buzziest alums about why they make it a priority to come back and teach:

Keep reading... Show less