Focus class: pirouette technique

How spotting, preparation, correct placement, and balance combine for a good pirouette technique.


  • 1 Class
  • Suitable for 14+

For pirouettes, dancers need to coordinate their whole body. In this class, we’ll cover all the elements needed to successfully execute turns, including correct posture and placement of the shoulders, core, arms, legs and feet, how to prepare, the importance of spotting, and how to find and keep your balance. We’ll then practice a pirouette combination.

Duration: 25 to 30 minutes

This lesson is also included in the Intensive course for 14+: Series 1 package.

What you will learn

  • The correct posture and placement of the body in pirouettes
  • How to prepare for turns
  • Exercises to achieve a more centred balance
  • How to spot.

Your Tutors

Valeri Hristov

Ballet Teacher

Born in Sofia, Bulgaria and trained at the State Choreographic School, he joined The Royal Ballet Company in 2002. His roles with the Company included Onegin and Lensky (Onegin), Romeo and Paris (Romeo and Juliet), Ivan Tsarevich (The Firebird), Lysander (The Dream), Prince Siegfried (Swan Lake), Prince (Nutcracker), Thaïs pas de deux, Polixenes (The Winter’s Tale), John Singer Sargent (Strapless) and Principal roles in In the Night, Les Noces, ‘Emeralds’ (Jewels), Serenade, Les Patineurs, Elite Syncopations, Scènes de Ballet, Monotones, Symphony in C, La Valse, Alexei Ratmansky’s 24 Preludes, Danse à grande vitesse and La Fin du jour.

Hristov’s international repertory includes Basilio (Don Quixote), Franz (Coppélia), Jean de Brienne (Raymonda), Prince Siegfried, James (La Sylphide), Conrad (Le Corsaire), Prince (The Nutcracker), Les Sylphides, Concerto, Paquita, L’Apres-midi d’un faune, Merry Widow, Chaconne and Western Symphony.

Hristov has created roles for The Royal Ballet in David Bintley’s Les Saisons, Robert Lloyd Garland’s Spring Rites, Peter Quanz’s Fantasy, Alastair Marriott’s Tanglewood and Alexei Ratmansky’s 24 Preludes.

In 2016, Hristov received Level 6 Diploma in Dance Teaching and Learning from Trinity College London (DDTAL) and Diploma of Dance Teaching from the Royal Ballet School. Hristov has taught students at the Associate scheme at Royal Ballet School and also students at English National Ballet School and Central School of Dance. In 2015, he was also invited to teach classical class and repertoire at the Royal Ballet School Summer Programme and RAD Scotland. Hristov also was a judicator at the ISTD Awards (2014/2015) and RAD Phyllis Bedells Bursary (2015).

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can participate?

This class is recommended for students aged 14+ and reflects the training given to students aged 14-15 studying at The Royal Ballet School. The class is not suitable for beginner students, students with limited experience or students under 11 years old.

For this class, we recommend that:

  • Students are studying a syllabus delivered by a recognised classical dance awarding body, or if attending full-time vocational training, are studying at Intermediate vocational level or above
  • Students have a good to excellent knowledge and understanding of ballet vocabulary
  • Students can execute a secure double pirouette and maintain extensions in adage at 90 degrees and above
  • Feet and ankles are strong, secure and able to stretch well
  • Students have good flexibility
  • Allegro can be executed with a clear understanding of how to link a sequence of steps together in a choreographed exercise
  • Students undertaking pointe work should be confident in executing basic pointe exercises.

What do I need to participate?

This class is designed so that it can be executed in a smaller space than a ballet studio. We ask that students/parents ensure that:

  • The student meets the technical standards required for the class
  • Any apparatus used for a barre is stable and safe
  • The floor is not slippery, uneven or hazardous
  • The area used for dancing is cleared of any items which could hinder the student’s ability to fully extend their arms and legs. There should be enough space for reasonable movement. If a student cannot fully execute an exercise, they should either adapt appropriately or not participate
  • The student is able to clearly hear the teacher’s verbal instruction, see the teacher’s practical delivery and hear the music
  • The student is appropriately dressed to safely execute a ballet lesson. Soft ballet shoes should be worn, not pointe shoes
  • The student’s hair is suitably tied back
  • The student is fit and well in order to take part.

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