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Where to Find "Turnout Boards" + Fifth Position


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#1 dancekitty

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Posted 04 May 2007 - 12:01 AM

I read a discussion about how to improve turnout. But it was from 2001... Someone mentioned using "turnout boards" to increase hip/leg rotation. He/she said that you stand on these freely-rotating cirlces and try to rotate your legs, using the muscles above the knees. I think I can visualize what this person was talking about; it's not a "torture machine" that puts pressure on your knees...

But WHERE DO YOU FIND THIS? eBay? Dance stores? I'd even buy it from that person who talked about it!!!! DOES ANYONE HAVE A TURNOUT BOARD?!?!?

I am desperate to improve my turnout. These "turnout boards" seem like the best solution. I can't work on barre at home. Also, it is hard for me to improve my turnout muscles during barre: my hyperextended knees don't let me close my heels in first, and my thighs are pretty bulky, which make it hard to have a turned out fifth position.


Speaking of fifth position, why are my legs so much LESS turned out in fifth & fourth (when they are crossed up) than in first and second? When I'm doing frog legs (legs out, like plie in "first," lying on floor), my feet are almost on the floor. But when I lie on my stomach, with legs in "first" and then bend one knee with thigh still resting on floor, (sort of like one frog leg, but moved in, in-line with my torso) my foot is so far from the from the ground, so little visible turnout...

Thank you!

#2 Doubleturn

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Posted 04 May 2007 - 04:46 AM

You can find them as part of Pilates equipment - try gymnasium suppliers. They are indeed very useful I have a set and I know The Royal Ballet School in London and their Associate classes use them.

Mods, hope it is not inappropriate to post.

#3 Mel Johnson

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Posted 04 May 2007 - 05:27 AM

Good thinking. I had quite forgot about the Pilates version of the equipment, the precise name for which escapes me totally right now. The only other place I've seen it used was in an orthopedist's examination, which would be a prohibitively expensive item, as that one is a measuring tool, not an exercise device. But truly, the best and most cost-effective rotation/turnout machine available, all things considered, is the student's body itself, with or without floor under the feet. Very few things actually require gadgetation in order to be improved.

And welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, dancekitty. :thumbsup:
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#4 dancekitty

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Posted 04 May 2007 - 10:33 PM

Thank you for the lightning-quick responses!!! I will look at Pilates equipment suppliers.

I understand that just dancing is the best method for improving every aspect of your body in dance.
I hope I do not sound like a discouraged and lazy student in saying this...but I cannot focus solely on turnout when I'm trying to do combinations or barre exercises. And without the turnout, it's harder to dance. So if I isolate which parts of my body I work on, maybe my turnout will get better quicker. Then, perhaps my dancing, overall, will improve.

So does anyone know why it is harder to maintain turnout in closed positions? Or is it just my body that's weird? :)

#5 Mel Johnson

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 07:23 AM

Kitty, it is more difficult to rotate the legs in closed positions for a couple of reasons: First, in closed positions, the muscles which work to keep your feet pointing close to straight ahead are contracted into normal walking and standing configuration. You have been using this configuration all your life and will continue to do so, thus the "straight-ahead" muscles are very well-exercised. There is little that's "normal" about ballet. We have to work very hard in order to make our bodies do things that ordinary mortals can't.

Second, if you are the slightest bit bow-legged, or hyperextended, then your legs interfere with one another when you are in closed positions. They bump up against one another, and you have to work to accommodate them and still keep the ballet appearance.

Doubleturn, thank you for opening up this topic to all comers, rather than just the teacher-moderators of the Young Dancers forums, by creating a thread on Cross Talk:

http://dancers.invis...topic=35895&hl=

That was just the thing to do.
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