Double Down

Did a double pirouette the other day!
Couple of them!
It went like this:
Before class Smirnoff was all, “My Dear! How are you!” and I was all, “Allergies! Not very good!” and he was all, “Are you dizzy!” and I was all, “No, just feeling kinda bleh in the head!” and he was like, “Ok! Let’s get to work!”
So then we were doing the barre pirouettes, which, like, sometimes I can kinda nail and sometimes I end up catching the barre in order to not fall over and never know which it’s going to be ahead of time, and sometimes Smirnoff calls out things at the last moment to each of us to focus on and this time he called out, “Look to your hand and follow it! Don’t let it go alone!” so I looked at my hand in preparation and then followed it and then noticed that the barre had just gone by a second time and grabbed for it out of surprise. And was like, “woah.” and then did it again, meanwhile Smirnoff is calling, “Don’t grab for the barre! Keep going!”
And then he stopped the music and had me do another while everybody watched and he called out, “You see? You are turning consistently now! When your allergies are gone, you will do triples!”
And I was like, “um, yeah, about that…”


About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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14 Responses to Double Down

  1. Jenna says:

    Awesome! I’m really hoping that we’ll get around to trying things like that when the exam hype is over in my class. Congrats on the new skill!

  2. Johanna says:

    Congrats on your doubles!! Good Girl!!

    Do you turn barre pirouettes facing the barre, or in profile? I actually find doubles harder to do at the barre, somehow I feel closed in. Used to bruise my knees quite frequently, especially with fouetté pirouettes.. On relevé, my passé retiré knee is at level with the lower barre. But I have learned to estimate the distance by now. Banged knees will do that to you.

    I do wonder about the looking-at-your hand bit.. Maybe I didn’t understand it right. You are not supposed to look down, but spot straight ahead. Of course, whatever works.. :)

    • We do them in profile to the barre, and we do kind of a lot of them. Usually there’s the pas de bourré pirouette passé relevé combo, where the pirouettes kinda sneak up on you and you just bust them out quickly without too much thought, then there’s the actual barre pirouette exercise, where we do this elaborate prep involving a developé to the side, with the arm following, then a fondu front with the arm going to preparatory, then to first, then out to second as then leg extends from the fondu front, quickly to the side, and to passé, at which point we should be pirouetting en dehors. And then a lot of times pirouettes are part of the barre adagio too.
      I agree, the barre pirouettes in general are much harder than the center ones.
      Wondered about the looking at the hand thing too, as it makes spotting impossible, and I have a few completely unresearched, un tested theories.
      Theory 1: this is a partnered pirouette, so the rules are different
      Theory 2: he had me concentrate on my hand to distract me from my usual pirouette problems
      Theory 3: Smirnoff is a rebel.

      • Johanna says:

        What you call “the actual barre pirouette exercise” is actually a preparation for fouetté pirouettes! This is how you whip the leg around, although the fouetté pirouette in center is preceded by a regular (double) turn. Way to sneak that up on you! And you made it a double, no less!! Wow.

        I agree with your theory 2, distraction can work wonders. Otherwise keep your spot straight ahead or trouble will ensue in center. Of course, this does not exclude theory nr 3. :)

        Keep up the good turning!


  3. mladen says:


    super envious.

  4. Hannah says:

    Congrats, that’s wonderful! I’ve done doubles by accident a few times but definitely never two in row…but doubles are in a dance I am learning so I need to focus on it. You are my inspiration now. : )

  5. Jenna says:

    “when your allergies are gone” ha, ha! Congrats on the doubles! We just learned single pirouettes in class the other night, and I’ve been spinning around my living room trying desperately to get it right. :) {found your blog recently, btw. love it! I too am an adult beginner at the age of 30.}

  6. loveablestef says:

    Congratulations! Achieving consistent double turns is cause for celebration! They are buggers!

  7. Blondie says:

    Good job! Doubles are so hard. I can’t even comprehend how to get that much speed.

    • Johanna says:

      Blondie, you don’t need that much speed for a double. Hardly any more than for a single. Just make sure your plié is deep enough and that you are in passé retiré position before you turn. The opposing arm closes, and that plus plié gives you the neccessary impetus to turn. Oh, and remember to spot – twice!

  8. Ballet says:

    Congratulations on your double turns!

  9. Pingback: Adult Beginner, where have you been? | Adult Beginner

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