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Guest leggy

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Guest leggy

Can you enhance your turnout if you're over 30 years old?? I know of the basic 'exercises', such as the floor 'butterfly' stretch and lying on your stomach while keeping your knees bent, and feet touching. But does anyone know of any other ways to enhance turnout gradually at this 'advanced' age?



:D What a great forum - there is so little information for adult ballet students out there - so glad I found this site!!

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yes, there is this fantastic cream/lotion you can buy over the counter called 'Turnout Cream' , by la Paloma.. ;)


It can only be enhanced if you have the bone structure suitable for turnout. Unfortunatley after a certain age (prior to 16) what you have you will have for the rest of your life.

It can be enhanced when young, but once your bone structure has set, that is it,and you have to work with what you have. Unless you have a drastic operation.


Unless you actually have a physician assess what your turnout potential is, then obviously we all assume we have fantastic turnout and just haven't worked hard enough for it to be great.


The best turnout exercises you can do is to take a lot of ballet classes and focus on engaging the correct muscles during each exercise. Exercises such as rond de jambe are great and hence we do them in ballet class.


MAking sure your heel is presented when you tendu to the front and to the side and when you develope front and side, and making sure when you tendu back envisiging that the side of your little toe is facing up to the ceiling will help you make the most of what you have.


The most important is never to force it. The turnout should come from the tops of the thighs/hip area, never the knees.



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I’ll disagree with Xena and say that turnout can be improved at almost any age and more so if you don’t have much as compared to a lot. Now, the improvement may be very small and may take forever, but it will occur. In my own case, I didn’t start ballet until late in life and my turn out has improved quite a bit though it is nowhere near the range of a competent younger dancer.


I will agree with Xena and say that the best way to develop turn out is just to take a lot of classes and concentrate on rotating outward from the hips as you go through class from plies to reverance.


The other thing that I find helpful is when teachers say it is not how much turnout you have that counts, it is how you use the turnout you have that counts. That I think is the real issue when it comes to turnout.

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Then I have to agree and disagree ;) It can only be improved if your bone structure allows it, but obviously how can you tell if your bone structure allows it or not?

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Guest Kelsey

Hi leggy,


Think 'turnout, turnout, turnout' everytime you do any step in class. It's gotta be in your mind all the time. And it's also good to keep concentrating on every step you do to be an extension of that turnout. That is, what ever step you may be doing, tendu to the side, developpee or even jumps...keep thinking that you're rotating from the hip. After a while, your body actually follows suit.


And i think pilates exercises help too. It'll be good if you could get in touch with a trainer, cos i think pilates is great foundation for good ballet technique. :D



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Guest venecha

You know, I remember a time when I could do a near-perfect fifth (before I even know what it was - just saw others in school doing it) and had fairly decent turn-out. That is, until I had my kids. I don't know what happened. One day I was somewhat flexible, and the next - ZAP! *grin* It has improved , though. I doubt that I will ever get to where I want to be. Just have to keep working those hips! :(

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There are many things that limit turnout:

1. Lack of knowledge of how to place and align the body parts to allow them to turn out the most.

2. Musculature.

3. Ligaments.

4. Bone structure


Usually people asking how to improve turnout can work on (1) and (2). It is dangerous to work on (3) because ligaments stretch permanently and the integrity of your joints can be damaged. And as has been pointed out, it is just not possible to change (4).


Frog stretches and such can improve turnout in second position plie. But they won't do much for you when your legs are straight, as when you're standing in fifth position. There are other ways to improve that.

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The best way to improve rotation is to learn how to use it properly. It takes alignment and placement, and the knowledge of HOW to rotate your legs. Then you have to figure out how to best use what you have, by working very hard on tendu and rond de jambe à terre, especially. Once you understand the desired shape of the leg, and can figure out how far you can go without destroying your placement and alignment and creating rolling knees and feet, then you just use that the very best you can and keep working to improve it with every class. It does not happen in a short amount of time. Fifth position is pretty important in maintaining that rotation in the center, because if your steps do not finish in a good position, there will be no rotation in the next step. It takes a long time to train the body to do this well, so, patience is one of the main keywords :(

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Guest distantdancer

When I started out in February I thought that I would never feel my turn out. After a few months of ballet twice a week and religious stretching though I'm starting to be able to use it. I think if you're just starting out you have to give yourself some time to build up the muscle so you have something to work with...then worry about the turn-out. Ballet class would be the best way to do that!! I've been working with the therabands for a few weeks now and they really have helped me 'feel' my turn out muscles, the straddle splits (either sitting on the floor or with your legs up the wall) have helped me find the little suckers as well. I guess I've started to think of it as not improving my turn out but discovering my turn-out. I totally agree with the patience thing too. Usually we can choose to be patient or impatient about something we're involved in but not when you're working with an unresponsive body. Heh, after all these years I'm finally learning that 'patience is a virtue'. I just never thought that I'd be learning it from my legs.:(

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Kelsey, I second Victoria Leigh.


In general, the ballet exercises in class offer the opportunity to improve turnout and length all the way through. There is no need for "extra" exercises, because the designers of the ballet class already recognized that people needed to work on turnout. Every single exercise in 5th position can be used to improve your turnout in 5th position. There is just a need to get the most out of the exercises you already have.


Some things I have worked on to this end:

-) Maintaining a level pelvis throughout.

-) Moving the heel before the toes in tendue front, toes before heel in tendue back, etc.

-) Standing up on the very top of my femurs; this usually ends up stretching the hip flexor muscles, or the broad front of your pelvis when you're turned out.

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Guest Nadezhda

I'm sorry, but I fail to understand what femurs are.


-) Standing up on the very top of my femurs; this usually ends up stretching the hip flexor muscles, or the broad front of your pelvis when you're turned out.


Could someone please explain, what citibob meant by that?

Thank you. :)

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The femur is the bone in your thigh, or upper-leg.



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