How to Build Momentum for Turns

Edina performs at the 2017 MSHSL Jazz Tournament. (Photo Credit: Rick Corwine/MN Dance News)

Question: I’m having trouble getting momentum for a set of open turns. Any tips?

Response: Thank you for the question on turn technique. There are often 3 areas where momentum escapes:

  1. Your knee – If you really straighten your standing knee, it will be difficult to hop. Hopping in one of the reasons dancers tend to lose turn momentum.
  2. Your hip – If you squeeze your glutes and core during the turn preparation, and then remember to keep them squeezed, this will keep your pelvis over your standing leg. This hip alignment is very important for multiple turns like opens.
  3. Your shoulders – Think of turning by bringing the shoulder blade of your trailing arm around to create the turn. For example, if you are turning to the right, you need to bring energy by “closing” from your left shoulder blade.

Give these turn tips a try for opens (aka a la seconde turns), fouettes, and pirouettes in turnout or parallel. See what you find. Share your thoughts and questions here with us at MN Dance News.

This technique tip is provided by Dr. Meredith Butulis ( It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or treat any condition.

Meredith is currently operating under a grant from Twin Cities Orthopedics to provide summer conditioning free of charge to dancers near the Minneapolis and surrounding areas. Please E-mail her at if you would like more information.

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Dance Medicine and Sport Physical Therapist | Personal Trainer | Pilates Instructor since 1998 | Life-long Dancer