32 fouettés en tournant
One fouetté rond de jambe en tournant is an action where the dancer stands momentarily on flat foot with the supporting knee bent as the other "working" leg is whipped around to the side, creating the impetus to spin one turn. The working leg is then pulled in to touch the supporting knee as the dancer rises up en pointe on the supporting foot. The ability to consecutively perform 32 of these turns is considered a bravura step by the ballerina, emphasizing her strength, stamina, and technique. It is a very difficult step to do and many ballerinas can only do 32 on one side, normally the right.
32 fouettés were first introduced into the coda of the Grand Pas d'action of the ballet Cinderella (choreographed by Lev Ivanov, Enrico Cecchetti, and Marius Petipa) by Pierina Legnani, prima ballerina assoluta of the Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg.
The ballet historian Konstantin Skalkovsky, who was the dance critic for the St. Petersburg Gazette, attended the premiere of Cinderella in 1893. He reported that "...in the last act Legnani positively outdid herself. When Emma Bessone danced the lead in The Haarlem Tulip she did 14 fouettés. In her variation Legnani performed 32 of them without stopping, and without travelling one inch! The public delightedly applauded the Ballerina and compelled her to repeat this variation as well. On the repetition she nevertheless did 28 fouettés. To count them became the favourite occupation of the public."
Legnani repeated this feat again in many other works during her career with the Imperial Ballet (today the Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet), which lasted from 1893 until 1901. She performed them most notably as Odile in the coda of what is today known as the Black Swan Pas de Deux from Swan Lake (1895). Today fouetté turns are now required of every ballerina, and over the course of the 20th century 32 fouettés have been incorporated into the coda of many of the famous Grand Pas.
The first Russian ballerina to perform the 32 fouettés was Mathilde Kschessinskaya.
- Wiley, Roland John (1997). The Life and Ballets of Lev Ivanov. New York City: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-816567-6.