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1706, from French pirouette "spinning top; pirouette in dancing," from Middle French pirouet "spinning top" (15c.), from Gallo-Romance root *pir- "peg, plug" (cf. Italian piruolo "peg top") + diminutive suffix -ette.
1822, from pirouette (n.) and also from French pirouetter. Related: Pirouetted; pirouetting.
(French: "to whirl about"), ballet turn in place on one leg. The pirouette is often done in spectacular series, which women usually perform on toe (pointe) and men on the ball of the foot (demi-pointe). In a pirouette sur le cou-de-pied, the raised foot rests on the supporting ankle; in a pirouette a la seconde, or grande pirouette, it is extended in the second position at a 90 angle to the supporting leg. The leg may be held at the front (attitude), side (a la seconde, or grande pirouette), or back (arabesque and attitude). The body may turn toward the raised leg (en dehors: "outside," or "backward") or the supporting leg (en dedans: "inside," or "forward"). Four and five pirouettes are now commonly performed, and up to 14 have been executed by 20th-century dancers.