Ballet Moves: The Pirouette and a Jump

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Of all the Ballet moves, the pirouette is one of the most iconic. 

That extraordinary turn, executed with perfect balance and timing, can really take your breath away when you see it performed on stage.

But, although the professional dancers make it look easy, like it is one simple smooth motion, it's actually a composite of several small moves that prepare the dancer for both the speed and accuracy of the turn and the balance require to pull it off.

So before you tackle spinning round (and risk landing face down on the floor or splattered into the nearest wall) you need to know what those small preparation moves are.

It's an important technique to learn and to master. 


If you've ever seen the film 'Billy Elliot', you'll probably remember the scenes of Billy trying to master a pirouette (and ending up in the bath at one point).  "Prepare" was the mantra he whispered over and over again as he attempted the moves that you are now going to have a go at.

In this clip, teacher Deborah shows you exactly what is meant by 'prepare' (and what Billy was trying to remember).  It's a series of easy moves that de-construct the pirouette so you understand exactly how to tackle one.

If you do feel brave enough to try the spin, then just remember to 'spot' (another thing Billy was having to master). 

Before you start to spin, pick a point in front of you that's a slightly higher than your natural eye line.  Remember what that thing is - a picture on the wall, the top of a door frame, whatever.  Just pick something obvious. 

When you start to spin, keep looking at that spot until the turn of your body means that you have to move your head.  As soon as your head moves, snap it around, faster than the spin your body is doing, so that you make eye contact with your chosen spot again as soon as possible. 

(This is clearly another one of those Ballet moves that's easier to do than to explain.  The way Julie Walters's character explains it in the movie is perfect, if a little scary….)

Here's a much gentler teacher to take you through your first pirouette.  It's time to have a go.

How did you get on?  Still in one piece?  Good!  Like a lot of Ballet steps, it's much easier to tackle when it's broken down into each separate element.

Learn a Ballet jump

And finally we have a simple jump for you.  A tutorial in basic Ballet moves wouldn't be complete without one. 

This is a very basic jump, literally just straight up and down. 

But there's more here than meets the eye.  As Deborah says, it's not just whether you can jump up and land smoothly, the trick is to point your feet in mid air. 

See if you can manage it.

Ready to do more of the class?  All the Ballet moves and steps you've seen in these video guides are from our Ballet for Adult Beginners dvd. 

On it, you not only get the instruction, but each step is practised to music, and there are many other Ballet moves included, such as

  • a grande battement
  • an arms and feet position exercise
  • a clever traveling step
  • an arabesque
  • and all finished off with a proper curtsey. 

It is quite simply the best and only introductory lesson to Ballet you'll ever need. Order yours today.

Keen to find out more about adult beginner's Ballet classes?  Read our in-depth guide...

› Ballet moves