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Maintaining Turnout?

Guest Lukayev

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Guest Lukayev

Hello all,


For the next two weeks, our school is lucky enough to have Alaine Haubert from the ABT SI program as a guest teacher. Today, in class, she remarked on how her travels across the country enable her to have a pretty good idea where (in terms of technique) dancers our age should be.


Because of this and that, our school has been tagged as a little 'behind' the majority of schools she's visited. While we do have a few exceptions, for the most part I have to agree. It's not so much "we can't do triples on pointe consistently, and they can", this laggedness she is referring to (I believe) is based on our basic technique.


SO! I noticed an ongoing problem in many of my fellow dancers and, of course, myself. We don't go en pointe *every single class* (though I've been making an effort to do so) and so when the tempo was upped for a tendu/pirouette combination, we basically fell apart in terms of turnout and placement. When performing échappés, my fifth upon closing was totally askew, with the back foot nowhere near its proper place. Don't even get me started on the en dehors pirouette.


Thus, I have a question for Ms. Leigh, Mr. Johnson, or anyone who's learned of a solution for this problem via a teacher's wise old words. How should a student with pretty respectable turnout during exercises of normal tempi keep it so during the quicker times? This is especially tricky, I find, in pointe shoes, so I pray there is some solution out there for me. :) UBA SI is in a week and a half - it'll give me something to work on. :rolleyes:

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Luka, a part of your answer is already in your question. Do the technique classes in soft shoes, and work the combinations slowly first, in order to build an accustomed turnout for when the tempo picks up. It's another "practice, practice, practice" situation. If your rotation drops under speed or stress, then it's false turnout that is simply being forced.

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Luka, I agree with Mr. Johnson, but will just add that it is also up to the school, and your teachers, to see that you have enough pointe work every day and that the pointe work includes work that increases in tempo. Pointe classes, once you are beyond the beginning level, should not just be about relevés and piqués, but should include everything one does in a regular class including petite and grand allegro. There should be combinations designed to build speed as well as those designed to build control and strength on pointe.

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Guest Lukayev



I just know I'm going to get an "I told you so" reply, or something near that, but I'm going to post anyway.


I believe a big 'habit' that has had waaay to long to set itself into my muscle memory is not pulling up in the front of the hips. I have no idea where it came from, this nasty flaw, but that doesn't mean I can't try to eliminate it, right? So, two classes wearing solely pointe shoes (soft ones for barre, painfully new ones for center) and three excruciating rehearsals later, I believe I have started to make some progress on this most evil of evils.


I find that by tuning in my attention to this habit and correcting it immediately, it is SO much more easier to maintain turnout even in a murderous Balachine-esque petit allegro that was in our class today. Perhaps by concentrating on pulling up there, I am fixing something elsewhere that also inhibited a consistent amount of rotation and turnout. Hmm? I notice that engaging the abs to hold my upper torso up and aligned comes much more naturally with the properly placed hips. That, and keeping my legs stretched while on pointe and even standing flat seems to be much more consistent. Now the corrections make sense! Not that they didn't before, I just couldn't really 'implement' them, so to speak.


Tata! :)

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