Sara Baurley

We all know the basic turns that we use throughout our dances, but there are even more variations of turns than you could ever imagine. They have been used in every style of dance from ballet to jazz, and even hip-hop occasionally. Have you mastered these turns?


This is the most basic and well-known turn in the dance world and outside of it. It has been used in pretty much every dance throughout history. A basic turn that gets a lot of love, it is also a common building block leading up to other kinds of turns. There are three different types of pirouettes: turning outwards, turning inwards, and with one leg raised at a ninety-degree angle throughout the turn. 


These turns are usually learned after you have become confident doing the pirouettes consistently. Two main types are most commonly used in dances: Italian and Russian. The difference is that Italian style is done en pointe and in the dance, the dancer does an attitude. The Russian style is the more common and simple version. Basically, the dancer brings their leg to the side in the middle of the turn. These are both very common turns in popular ballets like The Nutcracker


These are not used so often, but when they are and are performed correctly, they are stunning. During an attitude turn the dancer bends their lifted leg at a one hundred and forty-five degree angle. They are harder to do as they are typically done en pointe, and since the leg is being lifted so high, it is easy to be thrown off balance mid-turn.

There are many other kinds of turns in dance, but these are some of the more commonly used ones. There are also variations within these kinds of turns, which can make for some really beautiful choreography. Isn’t it interesting how much expression and movement we can add to a rotation?

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Trina Hannah is a graphic design major and dancer at Siena Heights University. She loves all things creative including photography, painting, and writing. Trina has a passion for helping other young women build up their self esteem and chase their dreams all while making a positive impact.