Pirouette is a classical ballet term meaning “spin.” It describes when a dancer is turning around one leg with the other off the ground and in a position, most commonly in passé. A pirouette can be done either en dedans, turning in towards the supporting leg that the dancer is turning on, or en dehors, which is turning away from the supporting leg.
Pirouettes are often considered one of the most fun ballet steps to practice and do. Also, since they are quite hard to do cleanly with multiple turns (double pirouettes, triple pirouettes and so on) it becomes very rewarding for dancers once they feel they’ve improved their pirouettes. A pirouette can come in many different forms since it basically describes any turn, that is done on one leg. A pirouette, while close in defintion, is not done with a piqué, but with a relevé despite the definitions of pirouette and pique turn being similar.
Pirouette in Ballet Class
A pirouette is an intermediate step that is practiced and performed all the way up to the professional level. A pirouette combination in center is an essential part of every intermediate and advanced ballet class.
Pirouette in Performance
Pirouettes are also extremely common in performances of classical and contemporary ballets and even many other types of dance such as jazz and tap. They are very common in pas de deuxes, male variations, female variations, codas and group corps de ballet dances.