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Turns in Rhythmic Gymnastics. Keep the square!

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By Oleg Vasiliev, “Gymnastics” Magazine

Among great variety of choreographic turns we will cover those, which are performed on the one leg standing on the footing without change of position - Pirouette.

Feet turn-out and arms’ positions are not so clear in sport choreography, than in classical dance. However, the principle of keeping the square “shoulders-hips” stays firm.

In gymnastics turn, the square “shoulders-hips” can be transformed like a surgical tubing making a springy twist along the head-to-foot axis.

When a gymnast takes the advanced twist or makes the pirouette with the change of form, the head-to-foot axis can be subjected to springy deformation (by the bend or bow etc.). But this method can be applied if only usual methods are not effective.

The general rules for typical turn are the following:

1.      Starting position reminds of the brief balance with the lined-up vertical axis gymnast will turn around

2.      Spring setting for the turn – twist

3.      Spring opening – force

4.      Turning by inertia in the firm position

5.      Turn completion by the brief balance at the point, which many gymnasts forget to do, by the way

Let’s study sport-choreographic variant of the training turn in Passe on the left foot contraclockwise as an example — Pirouetteen Dedans. Remember that gymnastics arms’ positions differ from the choreographic ones by the elongation and straight lines. Gymnastics Passe can be done without turn-out (from the 6th position) unlike in choreography.


Feet position

Arms’ position


0.      Starting position

5th position on the tiptoes (the left foot on the front), bodyweight is on the both feet

Arms sideways (2nd position)

It’s necessary to demonstrate the stable point in this position. You shouldn’t stay here balancing for a long time.

1.      Preparative stage:

Step into the 4th position with the arms turning for swing

Step with the left foot into the 4th position (turn-out on the whole foot). Bodyweight is clearly in the center between the two feet

Arms turn for swing:

Left arm is in the center, right one – in the 2nd position

You should keep the square “shoulders-hips”. Center arms position usually means the 1st position, but the arms should be higher, on the chest level

2.      Main stage:

Starting the rotation

Bodyweight transition to the pivot (left) foot synchronous with the active way to high Releve moving the heel to the front while standing up from the Plie.

Right leg unbends in the knee and ankle joints with the swing in Passe fast track through the 1st position!

Arms swing to the 3d position – “arms up!”

Starting the rotation it’s better to project your vertical axis (and bodyweight) between the heads of 2-3 metatarsal bone. Don’t sink in the pollex and avoid the ankle inward collapse (valgus)

3.      Realisation Stage

Turning by inertia

The position corresponds with the balance in Passe with the slight shift of the weight center up the rotation axis.

Arms in the 3d position lengthen upwards together with the neck and chest. Relax the shoulders, don’t lift them up.

Lengthen upwards with the whole of your body, expanding the line from the pivot foot. The upper part of the back should be moved front slightly, keep the loins in tension and gather in stomach

4.      Closing stage

Rotation stop

The same position on the tip-toes.

The same/Arms sideways

It’s important to keep the point – tour form in balance

Some gymnasts hardly do 360-deg turn, while the others can do 3 tours and more at once. So, what’s the secret?

Read here

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