How Three Odette/Odiles Handle Those 32 Fouettés

January 28, 2018

Pretty much every ballet student struggles with fouettés, those fiendishly difficult turns that require both crazy strength and laser-sharp precision. But even the pros, who can make 32 of ’em look effortless, still get a bit of fouetté fear—especially when they’re fouetté-ing at the end of Swan Lake‘s Black Swan pas de deux, one of the most difficult, and exhausting, pieces of classical choreography.

Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Swan Lake opens this week (be sure to tune into their live-streamed rehearsal this afternoon!), and the Seattle Times caught up with three of the company’s Odette/Odiles—Laura Tisserand, Lesley Rausch, and Elizabeth Murphy—to talk about those infamous fouettés. Their consensus? Yes, they’re intimidating, even for gorgeous principal ballerinas, and getting through them is a matter of finding ways to push through the nerves.

“You start those turns, and you know that, even for a novice in the audience who’s never seen a ballet in their life, it’s clear what you’re supposed to keep doing,” Rausch told the Times. But “it is what it is, and you don’t have time to allow yourself that indecisive moment of fear.” A little audience support always helps, too. “You feel people start to get excited, and…it’s like everyone’s on your team,” Murphy says.

Read the whole article here, which includes a video of Rausch talking through her fouetté strategy. And if you need help fixing your own fouettés (who doesn’t?), check out our top tips.