Ballet Turn Boards: Perfect Your Pirouettes and Overall Performance
So, you’ve been practising ballet for quite some time and are ready to start learning the pirouette. The pirouette (a spin around on one leg), is often the most complex of all steps. It requires maximum balance, precisely timed moves and great body control to do a perfect pirouette. If even one element is slightly off timing, the whole move will be ruined. This is the reason it takes years for some ballet dancers to bring their pirouettes to perfection.
If you are intimidated by this, don’t be. The pirouette can often be easily mastered with the help of a little training device called a turn board. Ballet turn boards are slim, curved boards that you can place under your foot to reduce the friction between your foot and the floor. This decreases the resistance from the floor, allowing you to spin faster with ease. The fact that very little force is needed to create momentum, helps dancers feel more confident and get used to the feeling of turning.
Another benefit of using ballet turn boards is that dancers can get more familiar with the sensation of performing multiple turns. By practising on a turn board they can learn how to fight dizziness and find their centre of gravity so that they won’t lose balance when performing the actual pirouette. This training tool can also be of great help for students who have learned the technique of turning but struggle to spot. By spinning on a turn board while looking at yourself straightforward in a mirror, you can learn how to establish a better spot
But beginners aren’t the only ones that can find turn boards helpful. These tools can be a great way for advanced dancers to learn to do more than 5 turns in a row. And even after you’ve mastered your spins, turn boards can still help you make a difference in your overall performance and body strength. For one, they can be great tools for performing exercises that help strengthen the piriformis. The piriformis is the muscle right under the pelvis which helps you support and maintain turns and perform jumps. Begin by standing on 2 spin boards with your feet apart at hip width. Then demi plié with your tailbone down. This can make you feel like turning your hip knobs, but try to resist actually turning. And voila – you’re activating the piriformis.
So, regardless if you’re a beginner or an advanced ballet dancer, the versatility of this board along with its simplicity makes it a great training tool. As it’s made from a smooth material, you can use it at home as well without worrying that it will scratch any surface you’re spinning on, including carpet, vinyl, or hardwood.