Five Pirouette Exercises to Improve Your Fluidity
Fluidity For The Win
Developing a personal dance style and gaining fluidity is something near and dear to many pole dancers. And what are the best ways to do those things? Well, there’s no single “right” answer … but drilling basics through repetitive exercises certainly wont hurt. The goal is to be able to bust out certain moves (like, oh I dunno, maybe PIROUETTES???), without having to think about them, and without hesitating or losing your balance.
The five pirouette exercises below will help you do that, with pirouettes anyway!
1: Basic Pirouette Perfection
First thing first. Make sure your basic pirouette is as easy and natural to you as smiling at someone you like. Get your hand positioning carved into your muscle memory, and do the same with your feet. There are various ways to do a basic pirouette — whether you use two hands above your head, one hand above head and one hand at waist height, etc. The important thing is to pick one method and call it your baseline, then get it so you can do it every single time without any wobbles. Remember this universal tip from last week’s post — make sure you stay on the balls of your feet and stack your body over them!
2: Vary Leg and Hand Positions
Now that you have the most basic version of a pirouette, it’s time to change it up a little. If you started with the both hands above head method, try to do your pirouettes one-handed. Or take one hand and drop it down on the pole to “push” you through the pirouette. When it comes to your legs and feet, you can vary those too! Drop into a low squat and use the non-grounded leg to do a sassy ice skater heel scrape. Use non-grounded leg to swing you around in a big movement. Step out into a different place than usual and see what that does to your balance and lines.
Case in point: a true master of heelwork, Rachele Ribera. Check it out!
3: Vary Tempo
Do them with a fast rotation. Now try a slow rotation. Go into a pirouette quickly and then slow it down, like you’re doing a tango. Try to maintain that great presence you built no matter what tempo you’re moving at.
4: String Them Together
(Warning: this is harder than it sounds, be ready!) Once you can do one that is just right, try to do two in a row. Think about what your hands and feet will need to do in order to make this happen. Got two easily enough? Go for three? Heck, see what happens if you work four at a time. It’ll be dizzy fun!
How adorable is Karol Helms doing 6 in a row? Look at her! More importantly, check her engagement.
5: Time for Transitions!
One reason pirouettes are such an important basic is that they are super versatile transitional building blocks. Think about where your hands need to be for the next thing you’re doing, and make sure they are placed accordingly during your pirouette, or that you can easily get them there. That is a key element of maintaining fluidity.
Here are just a couple ideas for transitions using pirouettes. There are so many options–like taking them directly into spins! Do a pirouette that lands you on your inside leg, which frees your outside leg as usual for some spin momentum–no walking in between, just step out of your pirouette and into spin (SO. MUCH. FUN.). Step out of a pirouette and slide down to the floor. Step out of one and immediately start a climb. Do a 1.5-revolution pirouette and take it straight into a backbend. Or take that 1.5-revolution immediately into a basic invert that has a smidge of spin!
Take a gander at these clips incorporating pirouettes and pirouette variations, one from Karol and one from Rachele. YUMMY. That’s all.
I’ll be covering more pole basics and fun transitions to try in coming weeks. Have something you want to see? Hit me up in the comments below!