Ballet Exercises - Pirouettes: Inside/Outside turns

by Carolyn

Ballet Exercises - Pirouettes: Inside/Outside turns

Hi Odette my name is Carolyn and I am 12. I've been working on pirouttes and I can almost do a perfect double turn (not on pointe) and a single on pointe. However, then our teacher started talking about inside and outside turns and she used a term "en dours" (I think thats how its spelled) and then another term for inside turns I just can't remember, and I think Im turning in the wrong direction! She said that for outside turns are like opening a door but I have a hard time visualizing it. Your term dictonary said that en dours is turning away from the supporting leg. That helped, but I'm having a hard time trying to visualise that too, and now Im quite confused. From what I'm understanding, an outside turn is counter clockwise and an inside is clockwise, but I'm not sure. Thanks for your time and your help! I find your website sooooo helpful to supplement what I learn in class.


Reply by Odette
To:- Ballet Exercises - Pirouettes: Inside/Outside turns

Hi Carolyn,
Thanks for your message on pirouettes! I have to admit, even I got slightly confused with these two types of pirouettes when reading your message! Even as a professional dancer, I am so used to just dancing these pirouettes that sometimes my terminology can get a little rusty. So, don’t worry if you feel confused – I do too! :)

I have never used

the expression ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ turns, mainly just by the proper names ‘en dour’ and ‘en dedan’.

It works for me to visualize the En Dours pirouettes turning away from the supporting leg, because as you take off for the turn you move away from the leg that releves to demi-pointe and the other leg is lifted to retire. Whereas, in an En Dedan pirouette it is the opposite and you always turn towards the direction of the supporting leg , turning inwards.

I also separate the two turns by looking the at the position in which you take off from. For an en dour pirouette, you always take off from either a fifth position (with the foot front). Or a fourth position with both legs in a plie (like the one you do at the barre in plies).

For an En Dedan pirouette, you take off from fifth position but with the foot at the back and you bring it up to retire. Alternatively, you can take off from a lunge position where your front leg is in a plie and your back leg straight. The different take offs can really define each type of pirouette..

I hope this hasn’t confused you more, but try to take a look at some videos on youtube so you can visually see the difference of each pirouette. Don’t worry, the more you practice the more it will come naturally and you won’t even have to think about the names!

Best wishes,

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