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RETURN TO BLOG Posted 05 August 2021

Achieve Your Fouettes

By Claudia Dean

Fouettés are without a doubt one of the most exciting steps in classical dance! Mainly performed during the final grand pas de deux in a ballet as a part of the coda, this is one of the most exciting moments in a performance where dancers can impress the audience with exciting tricks.

In fouettes, your supporting leg will be working the entire time, so it is very important to build the power in your legs to have the endurance to complete your fouettes. Developing strength in your thighs, calves & ankles will help you push off from the floor, gaining momentum with every relevé. I would recommend practicing 8 releves on one foot in retire to strengthen your supporting leg. Whilst doing this, find a spot on the floor that your supporting foot must stay on as you do your continuous releves. 

Fouettes require strength and coordination, it’s important to gradually build up the number of fouettes you complete. I recommend aiming to achieve 5, and then progress to 8, 12, 16, 24, 32 over time as your supporting leg strength improves. 

“Fouetter” in French means to whip - both your arms and your working leg should open and close simultaneously as you rise and lower on the supporting leg. There are many moving parts that need to work in perfect synchrony to achieve seamless fouettés.

When you start your fouettes, ensure that you reach your deepest plie on your supporting leg with your working leg devant & your arms in first. As you releve on your working leg, your supporting leg and arms both pass through 2nd position at the same time. Then focus on coordinating the closing of your arms to first position, with the pulling in of your working leg to retiré to complete your full turn. This will allow you to collect maximal force in order to turn with great speed, making your fouettes more exciting and easier to complete. 

The most complicated part of a fouetté is achieving the optimal coordination between the arms and legs, together with the speed of your spotting. Try completing the “Fouette Preparation at Barre” Key Exercise before moving on to “Fouetté Preparation in Centre” to train your coordination for a perfect fouetté.

There are endless possibilities and variations to adapt fouettes to the role you are performing. Once you have achieved a solid base of 32 fouettés (this is the amount of turns usually performed), you can create spectacular combinations, by adding in a port de bras, including multiple turns, changing your spot or even adding props, such as a fan.

Fouettés are without a doubt one of the most thrilling ballet steps to complete, but they do not happen overnight. Consistent practice will help your body develop the correct movement pattern to complete successful fouettés and eventually start experimenting with exciting elements to impress the audience. Use our platform to achieve your fouette goals with Claudia!

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