Ballet Training
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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."

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We had a hunch that when Jenifer Ringer retired earlier this month, she wasn't saying "goodbye" to dance at large. The former New York City Ballet principal (and author of Dancing Through It) will be moving to California to direct Colburn Dance Academy, a new pre-professional dance program formed by The Colburn School, a performing arts high school, and Benjamin Millepied's L.A. Dance Project. The Academy will have a rigorous classical ballet foundation, but students will also explore modern, contemporary and commercial styles, as well as art and music history. The program will take just 10–12 students for its 2014–15 year, but eventually grow to 24. Dancers ages 14–19 are eligible. Auditions have yet to be announced.

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