Web Exclusive - Ask Amy

I have strong pirouettes on pointe, but as soon as I try fouettés, I’m a mess. I can’t seem to do more than a few without falling out of my turns. What can I do to get my fouettés under control? —Tess
In doing fouettés, the pirouette is only part of the equation. If any of the other components—the repeated relevés, the leg’s whipping action, the upper body coordination—are off, you’ll have trouble no matter how well you turn. The key is to identify where the problem is, and sometimes that means going back to basics.

If leg strength is your issue, you’ll need to gradually build stamina. At my school, we first practiced 32 pirouettes en dehors from fifth. Once we had those under control, we advanced to consecutive pirouettes on one leg, leaving the foot in retiré instead of coming down to fifth in between. Not only does this help strengthen your standing leg, but it also forces you to use your plié and your core. Once you can execute these comfortably, it’s easier to move on to fouettés.

Your problem may also be stemming from your hips. It’s crucial that they remain level as you rond de jambe the working leg. If you hike the hip or lift the leg from the thigh, you’ll throw off your alignment and start struggling. Practice the rond de jambe to relevé retiré without the turn, keeping the hips square and the leg slightly below 90 degrees. Feel how the turnout—and the fouetté’s force—comes from underneath the leg. Once you feel stable, add the turns, remembering to plié fully in between. Keep the arms under control, pressing the shoulders down and closing to first as the leg comes into passé.

News
The Washington Ballet's NEXTsteps program opens this week. Here are company dancers Ashley Murphy-Wilson and Alexandros Papajohn. Procopio Photography, Courtesy The Washington Ballet.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

Keep reading... Show less
Courtesy Apolla

Ballet dancers today are asked to do more with their bodies than ever before. The physical demands of a ballet career can take an immense toll on a dancer's joints and muscles—subjecting them to pain, inflammation and an increased risk of injury. Considering all that is required of today's dancers, having a top-notch recovery regime is paramount.

Enter Apolla Performance Wear, which is meeting ballet's physical demands with a line of compression footwear that is speeding up the recovery process for professional dancers by reducing inflammation and stabilizing the joints.

Keep reading... Show less
News
Ballet West in rehearsal for Le Chant du Rossignol. Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West.

Ballet West opens its season October 25–November 2 with a triptych of works from George Balanchine's early choreographic career with Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. Highlighting the program is Balanchine's 1925 The Song of the Nightingale (Le Chant du Rossignol), never before seen in the U.S. This ballet is not only the first piece that a then-21-year-old Balanchine made for the Ballets Russes; it also marks his first collaboration with Igor Stravinsky, and features costumes by Henri Matisse. To bring it to Salt Lake City, Ballet West is working closely with Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer, who reconstructed the work for Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo in 1999.

Keep reading... Show less
News
Stella Abrera in Le Corsaire. Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT.

American Ballet Theatre announced today that, after 24 years, beloved principal dancer Stella Abrera will retire from the stage this coming summer. Her farewell performance will be June 13, 2020, at the Metropolitan Opera House, dancing the title role in Giselle.

Keep reading... Show less