When doing a ballet pirouette the leg is turned out, while when doing a jazz pirouette the leg stays turned in, which is also known as “parallel”. Right now, we’re going to focus on learning the jazz pirouette. The first step in doing a jazz pirouette is learning how to prep. The prep is very important because that is what gives you the momentum to turn. It is done by taking one step forward using the leg that will determine the direction in which you’ll be turning. If you step forward with the left leg you’ll be turning right and vice-versa.
Next, you bend both knees at a ninety-degree angle. Your body has to be placed a certain way in order to have the best pirouette results. Avoid sticking your butt out by lifting your hips. Also, the ribcage should be closed while keeping the chest lifted. Shoulders should be down, while keeping the neck elongated. Make an “L” shape with your arms by placing one arm directly out in front of you, and the other out to the side, slightly in front of the shoulder. The arm extending forward must be the one opposite the leg that is extending forward.
After learning how to prep, you then need to learn the transition between the prep and the releve. Releve means rising from any position to balance on one or two feet with your heels off the floor. From the prep, use your back leg to push up and off of the floor while your supporting front leg pushes on to releve. Your back leg must go up to a passe (which is when a foot is placed on or near the other knee) immediately after pushing off the floor. Be sure to maintain the same body placement that you had during your prep.
The transition between the prep and the releve happens within a second, it has to be a very swift movement. Practicing this transition repeatedly and learning to balance on releve before attempting to turn will lead to quicker success. Finally, you are ready to learn how to turn your pirouettes. Spotting is most important while doing any and all turns. It is used to avoid becoming dizzy during turns. Spotting is done by focusing on a single point for as long as possible until you can’t any longer, then quickly whipping your head around and returning focus to that point.
The goal is to never lose contact with that point while turning. Now combine the steps from prepping to turning then you will have completed a pirouette. After mastering a single, you can then move on to multiples by adding a little more force when pushing off during the prep and slowly closing your arms in order to build momentum. Anyone can twirl or spin around, but dancing is so much more than that. However, to be able to master any dance move requires a strong desire to learn, as well as a willingness to dedicate the time and effort to practice.