Beloved pop-star and dancer extraordinaire Britney Spears recently posted a video on Instagram doing fouetté turns. Although she definitely earns an A+ for effort, there's room for improvement. And no hard feelings, Brit, even the most advanced dancers struggle with nailing these complicated turns.

"Fouetté turns are considered to many the hardest step in the ballet vocabulary," says Lisa Rumbauskas, an ABT-certified teacher at West End Academy of Dance. "However, with proper alignment and the help of physics, they can be much easier to achieve than they appear," she adds.

Here, Rumbaukas breaks down the positions necessary to whip off these tricky turns.

Always start teaching fouetté turns at the barre. Have students hold the barre with one hand and prepare by taking plié in 5th position.

From there, retiré in relevé with the arm in fifth en avant.

Plié extending the leg devant while keeping the arm in fifth en avant.

Relevé while simultaneously doing rond de jambe to bring the leg à la seconde (carrying the arm à la seconde at the same time).

Finally, relevé and beat the foot back front (in passé position) while bringing the arm back to fifth en avant.

Begin by repeating these steps without turning. Once the students have the correct alignment and action, they can add the rotation.

Tips to stress are the importance of the arm and leg coordination, proper pelvic placement (turned out leg in à la seconde without lifting the hip), keeping the knee side as you beat the foot back-front, and spotting the head.

Once students are ready, you can move to the center. Without the guidance of the barre, remind them to be consistent with where they plié devant and the action of their second arm coming in to center.

Voilà! Fouetté turns!

And if you missed Britney's enthusiastic attempt, see below, as well as the advice from other dance teachers.

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How does your studio handle enrollment for boys? Photo courtesy of Shona Roebuck

I recently set up a classical ballet partnering master class for my youth dance company. A pas de deux class, if you will—think Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, etc., chock full of promenades, pirouettes and lifts.

I knew we would have plenty of girls interested in signing up, but enlisting boys is always a challenge.

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Julie Hammond White is an associate professor at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she directs the dance education BFA. Here, the mother of two (Townsend, 10, and Dominic, 7) takes us through a typical week of juggling her personal and professional life. We caught up with White in October on the first day of work after her fall break. —Jill Randall


6:30–10 am Up and trying to rouse the boys. Throw in a load of laundry, pack lunches, set out uniforms. Drop kids off at school and head to the library. Finish planning advanced ballet.

10:30–11 Read 99 (?!) work e-mails. Taking a few days off is a bad idea…

11 am–12:30 pm Teach advanced ballet. I'm doing what I call "vitamin phrases": 2- to 3-minute phrases that focus on one aspect of ballet (this week, petit allégro).

12:40–1:55 Teach Methods in Dance Education. This is a course that all juniors, regardless of their major (performance/choreography or dance ed), must take to learn how to effectively teach dance in K–12, studios, higher education or community programs.

3:30–4 Grab a quick salad at restaurant across the street. Read letters from the promotion committee—passed the first stage of being recommended for full professor!

4–6 Grade DED 360 papers. These take a while. DED 360 is one of two writing- and speaking-intensive classes for the major. In their papers, students comment on eight areas of diversity as defined by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and find a media resource that addresses each to compare and contrast their views.

7–8 Grocery: bread, cantaloupe, Go-GURTS, apples, bananas, peanut butter, Nutella, pasta, cheese and oatmeal.

8–9 Laundry. Three loads. Also do a quick pickup of the house.

9 Boys home from day with Dad. They shower, brush teeth and set out their clothes for tomorrow. I sign homework and read them a story. Hugs and kisses, then bed by 10 pm.

10–10:30 More e-mails. Bed.

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Depending upon whom you ask, there are different approaches to mastering the art of turning. Whether it's fouetté turns or a single pirouette, every teacher tends to have their own unique way to break down the physics of pulling off balance, strong arms and quick spotting to students. And here's one more visual to consider, courtesy of master ballet teacher Finis Jhung.

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