Use Your Head & Turn! (2010)


Spotting, Pirouettes from Fifth, Pas de Bourrée Turning.
Taught by Finis Jhung.

Levels 2 & Up. 98 minutes. 20 exercises.

  • Available to Stream Instantly Online.
  • Stream in Workout Mode.


Whenever the best dancers pirouette and change directions, they turn their head quickly with eyes sharply focused—this is what makes their dancing so enjoyable. As you might imagine, it’s not easy to keep your balance when you must pirouette or turn your head quickly and move across the floor. In the same way you practice moving your feet and legs faster, you must also practice moving your head. This video shows you how to keep your balance when you spot quickly; details the correct use of the feet and arms when you pirouette from 5th; and teaches you how to turn your pas de bourrées with control and elegance. Each exercise is shown step-by-step by Finis Jhung, demonstrated by Sachiko Kanai, analyzed with corrections, and repeated. The wealth of information is staggering—welcome to ballet heaven! The CD music is by Scott Killian.

  1. Spot: sitting, from the shoulder – Music: New Ballet Music 3, Track 18, 4/4, Tango
  2. Spot: sitting, arms in 1st position – Music: New Ballet Music 3, Track 6, 3/4, Habanera
  3. Spot: standing, feet parallel – Music: New Ballet Music 3, Track 4, 4/4, Tango Mysterioso
  4. Spot: standing, feet parallel, half-toe – Music: New Ballet Music 3, Track 14, 3/4, Mazurka
  5. Spot: standing, side-front, 1st position, half-toe – Music: New Ballet Music 3, Track 14, 3/4, Mazurka
  6. Spot: standing, side to side, 1st position, half-toe – Music: New Ballet Music 3, Track 15, 2/4, Moderate
  7. Spot: shuffle turn – Music: New Ballet Music 3 #10, 3/4, Moderate
  8. Pirouette: work your feet – No Music
  9. Pirouette: work your arms –  No Music
  10. Pirouette half-turn – Music: New Ballet Music 7, Track 6, 4/4 Adagio
  11. Pirouette to 5th front, sous-sus, pas de bourrée under – Music: New Ballet Music 7, Track 15, 3/4, Adagio
  12. Pirouette to 5th back, sous-sus, pas de bourrée turning – Music: New Ballet Music 7, Track 12, 3/4, Adagio
  13. Pirouette to 4th, piqué to 5th – Music: New Ballet Music 7, Track 9, 4/4, Adagio
  14. Pirouette to 4th with arms 5th, pose, tombé pas de bourrée – Music: New Ballet Music 7, Track 14, 2/4, Moderate
  15. Pas de bourrée over, turning – Music: New Ballet Music 12, Track 2, 3/4, Adagio
  16. Pas de bourrée turning, pirouette, sous-sus – Music: New Ballet Music 12, Track 9, 4/4, Adagio
  17. Pirouette, sous-sus, fondu, pas de bourrée turning – Music: New Ballet Music 12, Track 14, 3/4, Moderate
  18. Pas de bourrées traveling & turning – Music: New Ballet Music 12, Track 6, 4/4, Adagio
  19. Pas de bourrées traveling & turning, pirouette – Music: New Ballet Music  12, Track 10, 4/4, Moderate
  20. Pirouette, swivel tendu, arabesque, pas de bourrées turning – Music: New Ballet Music 12, Track 11, 4/4, Tango

Additional information

Weight .125 lbs

Play the DVD in 3 modes: Full Class, Individual Exercises or Workout Mode where you can run the exercises without instruction. Once you’ve learned the exercise and heard the instructions, you may want to go straight to the demonstration with music so you can have a work-out without interruption.

You can find this feature on these videos.

The following DVDs don’t have the SPECIAL FEATURE but do allow you to skip the Instructions and go straight to the demonstration with music by using the SKIP FORWARD button:

  1. The Finis Jhung Ballet Technique: Stretch, Turn-out, & Extension
  2. The Finis Jhung Ballet Technique: The Power Barre
Streaming Playback

Streaming videos that offer the “Workout Mode / Nonstop Class” feature Streaming videos that offer the “Workout Mode / Nonstop Class” feature may be found here.

Most streaming videos do not offer multiple playback modes. Each DVD chapter/exercise is presented as an individual video. Once you complete an exercise, the next will play automatically. There is currently no “workout mode” available for most streaming videos.

“FIVE STARS! I am an advanced beginner, but my turns remain inconsistent. I sensed there was something wrong in my preparation that my instructors just were not catching. The video starts with the very basics and methodically builds out from there. After watching it just once I realize some of my mechanics were incorrect. Two days later I was back in the ballet studio and my instructors noted the improvement in my turns. I still have a way to go, but clear progress has been made. Thank you Finis Jhung!”

— Amazon Customer. February 20, 2018

“FIVE STARS! Very helpful!

— S. N. Schwarz. August 14, 2017

I have become a Finis addict. I am a 64 year old wanna be dancer. Your DVDs are so helpful. I feel really lucky to have found you. I even ‘get it.’ Thank you for caring about beginners. Yours in friendship… ”

— Heidi Martin

Use Your Head and Turn made a significant difference for me after doing it only one time. One! After doing the work last Friday at home, my time in the studio I rented the next day showed a marked difference in my spotting! My piqué turns as well as my châinés flowed so much better, and I could feel my head waiting until the last minute, then whipping around (neck relaxed, shoulders down) so much more decisively. And guess what! My turns were much more on my leg, and I was able to do them faster, with greater confidence. My focus had been sharpened and it had an immediate effect on my turns, which have been my ballet nemesis!! I am confident that this video will get me to one of my major goals of the year – to actually accomplish a fine pirouette.”

— Lisa Niemeier, Adult Student

Finis delivers what he promises—and then some!

“Having now studied with Finis’s DVDs for over a year, I have grown to expect much from his productions: aesthetically, pedagogically, and of course with regards to technique. Yet, this DVD surprised even me.

“First, the DVD features such an unassuming title that I almost overlooked it: I thought, ‘Well, how hard turning your head could be?’ I thought wrong. Turning your head, while isolating that simple movement from the rest of the body, and staying balanced, strong, and poised IS VERY hard. Finis breaks this complex achievement down into a series of simple exercises: first, sitting; then, standing; then, shuffling; and eventually progressing to demi-pointe and increased range of head-motion. I confess: when I first read the list of these exercises on the back cover (exercises 1-7), I thought they were too ‘simple.’ Wrong again. When I actually DID these exercises, I felt an instant difference in my pirouettes (it turns out, I was tilting my head when I was spotting—and that tiny head tilt threw off balance my entire body!)

“Second surprise has to do with just how much Finis has packed into this DVD. Once more, I feel that the title does not do justice to the amazing content. We are promised ‘head’ but given several, gradually growing more and more complex, variations. These variations center on pirouettes (with an extremely helpful and detailed breakdown of the movement) and pas de bourrees (under/over/turning), but also integrate sous-sus, tombe, fondu and arabesque. I actually could not complete the entire DVD in one practice session. I felt there were at least 3 different classes packed into it: Spotting, Pirouette, and Pas de Bourree.

“Third surprise: there are ‘correction’ sections that appear almost after every exercise in the second half of the DVD. These sections are invaluable, because in them, Finis discusses what went wrong (why there was a wobble, excess of momentum, loss of balance, etc.), and then he tells you exactly what to do to correct it. The ‘corrections’ are not listed on the DVD cover. So they come as a wonderful, and hefty, bonus. And Finis’s imagery all throughout (whether it is a “spinning top” to decode the pirouette basics, or ‘triangle’ to connect head and knees in plié, or ‘squeezer’ to remind of the solid strength at the center) are, as always, very helpful.

“In the end, you will find yourself silently marveling: in the span of just one DVD, you have progressed from shuffling around to graceful full-body dancing! In sum, I see this DVD as a powerful foundation for any ‘turning’ movement and truly a MUST-have for an adult ballet beginner. Thank you, Finis!

“*A small aside: if, like me, you carry a lot of tension in your neck, go easy on snapping your head the first time. (If you really want to address that issue, check Erik Franklin’s “Relax Your Neck, Liberate Your Shoulders” text.)”

— Natalya A.S.

“Use Your Head & Turn! This is a DVD to love! ‘All the work for a pirouette is before you do it.’ ‘Skeleton high, weight down.’ ‘Shoulders down and back/head separate.’ ‘Both feet work together.’ ‘Don’t force arms in.’ ‘Don’t force arms in.’ !!

“I can still feel my teachers pushing my supporting-side arm and shoulder around as I tried to turn. Who knew that it might be a problem? Not me! Not them!

“This DVD, Use Your Head & Turn!, begins with extremely simple spotting exercises. Here is one: Go on demi pointe in first, arms in second and, without moving, snap the head sharply to the right or the left. OK, maybe I didn’t fall over but I found my body really wanting to wobble. I did it again but this time I was aware of the what and how of opposition, balance, and muscle strength.

“Now, if you are one of those dancers who just seem to not need a teacher as much as to need to remember — like a dancing Mozart! — this DVD will be valuable, even for you! Simply being aware of what your (perfect) body is doing will enhance it. Now, for the rest of us who dance, have danced, and teach those who would dance, Use Your Head & Turn! is invaluable.

— Marie Paquette-Nesson

“I’m just so incredibly thankful to have found you and only wish that I had found you 20 years ago when I was dancing! My turns are better now at 44 than ever and I’ve been dancing since I was one and a half years old. I completely owe that to you! I thought I was just a petite allegro kind of girl who couldn’t turn, but you’ve changed all of that. My turns still can’t keep up with my fast feet (which aren’t nearly as fast as they used to be), but at least I’m no longer terrified when I need to turn! You are such a blessing to me and have helped make sense of many dance steps. I’m also thankful for the refresher with ballet terminology, as I took a very long break from ballet due to a career-ending injury. It was difficult to remember all of the terminology after so long a break. Your DVDs and Guidebook have been so helpful in bringing it all back. I am a dance teacher, a personal trainer, and a Master Balletone Instructor. I’m always grateful for how you blend exercise, science and ballet. There is a method to the madness and you have found it! The world is a better place because of your incredible mind, kind heart, and love for ballet. I hope to be able to make it up to NY one day to meet you and take one of your classes!”

— Christy Cole,
Creation Arts & Athletics, Charlotte, NC

“I returned to ballet about a year ago after being away from it for a very long time. I wanted to let you know how much your DVDs have helped and encouraged me in this pursuit. All of the dancers in the videos dance beautifully and are so helpful to watch. Your turning technique has enabled me to start nailing my double turns and the pointework DVDs have given me the practice I needed to move up to the next level of pointe class. I will be performing with my daughter in a recital next weekend — the first for me since I was a child. Coming back to ballet has enriched my life in so many ways and I have enjoyed every minute of it.”

— Leslie Miller, Adult Student, College Station, TX

“Your ballet DVDs are the best I have ever found! They have helped to fill in some gaps in my ballet training and understanding. But I love watching all of your DVDs because the dancers who demonstrate are so inspiring to watch. I dream of someday attending one of your adult class sessions. Thank you for sharing your wealth of ballet knowledge with the rest of us.”

— Robin from Tennessee

“I love this video and plan to use it at each level in our school. I have been teaching for fifty years, and your reasoning and logic have renewed my enthusiasm.”

— Clytie Adams, Clytie Adams School of Ballet, Kaysville, UT

“I cannot say enough about this product. Whether you are professional or recreational the techniques Finis introduces will improve your turns. I am a dance instructor and this DVD has made me think about teaching turns in a new and focused way. I just recently purchased the video and within only a month”s time I have seen wonderful improvement in my students. I first heard about Finis through Beverly Spell of LEAP ”N LEARN (also a must have). I will be purchasing all of Finis”s products. They are my new ”must haves” as a dance instructor.”

— Cassandra Shupe, Director, Norwalk Dance Center, OH

“Whoever has tried to land a perfectly balanced pirouette knows well that what seems to just happen is in actuality the result of knowledge, coordination and control of one’s body as well as numberless hours of practice. As an amateur dancer, I am still struggling with landing perfectly balanced pirouettes and get very discouraged at times. Moreover, the most important thing is to learn how to execute the movements correctly from the very first attempt, so that your body may remember each detail effortlessly. For me this meant studying with Finis Jhung at Alvin Ailey and using his wonderful DVDs for practice at home. His ingeniousness of breaking down any ballet position to allow for more control of the body by knowing what you are doing is an essential element for progress, especially for adult beginning ballet students like me.

I think that Use Your Head & Turn! is the best tool I have found for learning how to pirouette. The key to a successful pirouette rests not only in hours of practice but, more importantly, in finding a teacher who can explain HOW to do it. That rare teacher is Finis Jhung, and in this video, he breaks down the pirouette from the fifth position.

The three parts of this DVD gradually progress from simple to more complex exercises performed elegantly by the graceful and beautiful Sachiko Kanai. The first part deals only with spotting. Learning how to isolate and energize the head and focusing your eyes makes a big difference in whether or not your turns are successful.

The second part of the DVD deals with pirouettes from fifth, broken down to the simplest movements and later combined with pas de bourrées. I found the segment where Finis explains the pirouette as a half-turn especially helpful. As a result, by the time you are asked to do a full pirouette, you are better able to do it correctly. In addition, hearing and applying the corrections Finis gives Sachiko proved very helpful to me.

The DVD ends with beautiful combinations across the floor, each with the pirouette from fifth. For the adult amateur dancer like myself, who may never have a chance to perform on a stage, learning little dances like these provides enormous satisfaction.

—Ileana L Ray, Adult student at The Ailey Extension

About your purchasing choices…

FJ Streaming Singles We have released several brief videos (for example, our Foot Strength and Dance at Home series) which are only available to stream online. You will not receive a DVD, but may watch instantly upon completing your purchase.

DVD vs. Streaming

You’ll notice you have purchasing options on nearly all of the Finis Jhung Instructional Videos:

Streaming Playback

Streaming videos that offer the “Workout Mode / Nonstop Class” feature may be found here.

Most streaming videos do not offer multiple playback modes. Each DVD chapter/exercise is presented as an individual video. Once you complete an exercise, the next will play automatically. There is currently no “workout mode” available for most streaming videos.

Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

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