Mastering More Than A Double Turn

Reader Question:
I have double turns down but I’m scared to do them in front of my dance teacher but whenever I’m alone I do like 4.  My question is why can’t I do them, why am I scared, how do I get over this fear?  This problem affected my tryouts.  I made it, but everyone who is my age is on the team above the team I am on.

mastering more than double turns

Sherise:
I love that you want to overcome this fear and recognize it needs to be fixed.  The first thing I would do is find a time to go in and talk to your teacher one on one. Explain to her your fear; maybe she can talk you through some things she is seeing in the class that might give you more confidence and help you through this. Especially once she is aware of your fear she can help you overcome it. Secondly, if you cannot go to her for whatever reason, start off small by doing your turns in front of friends. Once you have done that and are comfortable with that, ask some others – maybe parents of friends or teachers at school, etc. It will take time but eventually you will get there.

As far as your dance is concerned, you already had your tryouts and have been placed. I’m sure you were disappointed to not be on the same team as the others that are your age. On a positive note you recognize why which is wonderful. Use this year to grow and, since you are one of the oldest in that level, you can set an example and be a positive role model and provide encouragement to others. You can be a leader to them! I encourage you to also keep the communication open and going with your teacher. Don’t give up!!

Temperance:
This sounds like a confidence issue you’re having! Is your dance teacher really strict? Is she hard to approach? Could it be that your classmates make you feel nervous? When you practice on your own and you do MORE than two pirouettes, are you confident that you are executing the turns correctly? Or are you “spinning” or turning on your heel when you do that many? Make sure that you are doing CLEAN double turns correctly before throwing yourself into 4 turns.
Back to your question though- It sounds like you have a mind block here. Sometimes to get over that, you should actually be honest with your teacher about it. Tell her that you feel anxiety when you go to execute the turn! Maybe if she is aware that you feel that way, your own fear will lessen and it won’t feel like a “secret”. Or, simply keep practicing on your own! Once the clean turns become muscle memory and habit (and they will!), then you will be able to do them on the spot, no problems, any time of the day! You could also try to have another adult or authority figure watch you while doing your turns before you show your teacher again! That way you can have an “audience” and you will be more used to having people watch/critique you.

Do make sure that you are practicing the turns correctly! Ask yourself these questions:
1) Are you spotting nice and sharp? Are your eyes finding the exact same spot each time you complete a turn?
2) Are your arms in the correct first position for turning? Are your elbows lifted? Shoulders pressed down and back?
3) Is your passe up the knee and in a proper parallel position? (assuming this is a jazz pirouette)
4) Are you landing strong? Make sure you tighten your core even more when you finish the turn so you don’t wobble or fall over!
Good luck!

Lesley:
First and foremost, let’s take everyone out of the equation except you. Your dance journey is not the same as the people around you and that is perfectly okay. Some people need a little more time to develop technically while others need more time to develop artistically and my suggestion is that you do not let this effect you on an emotional level. Own who you are as a dancer and don’t ever lose sight of that, no matter who’s watching. As teachers we are here to provide you with a safe positive environment that you can thrive in, grow from and find out who you are as a dance artist. The integrity of those things should never be compromised for any reason. Dance can be extremely judgmental when it comes to the competition aspect of the art. I can tell you that there are many facets of dance other than competing and if you find that the competition side is taking away from your passion then you may need to take a step back from competition and focus on the technical. This means you go to more conventions, take more privates, take more master classes, and let yourself absorb the art. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to allow your inner artist to emerge and share your talents on a level that is your absolute best. At the end of the day your artistry is exactly that, yours, so make every minute count as if it were your last.

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