How To Do A Pirouette or Even Multiple Pirouettes

All dancers dream of doing spectacular multiple pirouettes, but how to do a pirouette – that is a good question.  Perfect pirouettes require many hours of practice and dedication. The secret of doing a perfect pirouette is actually just practice, but here are some tips to use while you are practising.

What Is A Pirouette?

A Pirouette is a turn in place, on one leg en releve (ball of your foot or full pointe).  There are various different ways to prepare for a turn, but the classical pirouette always has the same look to it. (lifted leg turned out in retire)

Other types of pirouettes are found in other dance forms, for example turning with the leg parrallel, spinning on your head or heels, the variations are endless.  In this post I will concentrate on the basic classical ballet pirouette.

how to do a pirouette

What are the Requirements of a Great Pirouette?

First of all you need to have strength to do multiple pirouettes, and regular class, bar work and ballet training will strengthen all the muscles that you need for good turns.  To be stable on your turns, you need a good strong core, legs, ankles and feet.

When you are doing a pirouette, think about how a spinning top turns.  It is perfectly the same on both sides, weighs the same on both sides and is streamlined.

In order to maintain your balance and have momentum, you need to think of a spinning top.  Although we don’t look at all like spinning tops, we need to also be perfectly aligned otherwise we will simply fall over. You need to keep your supporting side aligned, in other words you shoulder, ribs and hip must be perfectly aligned to maintain a stable position on your turns.

As a versatile dancer you will need to be good at both en dehors (outward) and en dedans (inward) turns.How to do a pirouette

 Tips on How To Do A Pirouette From the Experts

  • Pirouettes need to be practiced a lot, but make sure you are practicing them correctly, or they won’t get any better.
  • Push off both legs, but make sure your weight is forward.
  • Don’t let your supporting heel slip before you turn.
  • When you releve, pull your toes in as you go up to get the foot directly underneath your body.
  • Do a strong releve and get up quickly.  You should be in the correct pirouette position before you have turned a quarter.
  • Work on your plies, petit allegro and releves, as these all aid a good pirouette.
  • Spot. Relax the upper body so the head is free to do this.
  • When you spot, choose a spot slightly higher than your eye line to look at.
  • Learn to turn first, get your turns fast, then work on getting your form right , or it looks terrible.
  • Relax, exhale and float through your turn.
  • When you releve, get right up on the demi pointe.  This will be a breeze if you have strong feet.
  • If you are battling to balance, try perfect a quarter turn, half turn, then a full turn. Even holding your balance without turning will help you improve in this aspect.
  • Open your arms to second just before you turn, then bring them in closer to your body as you turn to make your spin diameter smaller.
  • Be very careful that the shoulders remain square in the preparation to turn.
  • Try practicing multiple turns by doing a parallel pirouette.  This is a great way to get your balance.
  • Try a turnboard to get better at balancing.
  • Did you know that practicing your handstand and cartwheels can also help you with your turns?

A Visual Example for you of How To Do a Pirouette

Please comment if you have any other tips you may have on how to do a pirouette.

6 thoughts on “How To Do A Pirouette or Even Multiple Pirouettes”

  1. What a lovely site for those who love ballet. I think many people whether they actually dance or not, would be interested in the logistics of how ballet moves are performed.
    This will be especially useful for mums trying to help their daughters (and sons) with their ballet technique inbetween ballet lessons.
    I sincerely hope this site is seen by ballet dancers. Having a few books available, which you obviously endorse, is also a good idea. Well done!

  2. Hi!
    Thank you for this clarifying post! 🙂
    My 10 yrs old daughter decided to start dancing ballet in her free time. We chose a great dance studio for her but she doesn’t want to go there without any skills so she asked me if I can look for something useful on the internet, so thank you, really! 🙂 Im going to show it to her!

    Best wishes,

  3. I didn’t know a bit of ballet before reading this website! not like ill be doing any though I’m a guy! All those instructions describes the movement perfectly. I would have no problem doing the dance. This is a great dance site. I haven’t seen many sites that can teach you to dance!


Leave a Comment