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Turnout


Redstorm

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I was reading on a teen post about feet, specifically the shape and had a few questions. My almost 12 dd has such a strong desire to become a professional. Her teacher says she has tons of potential. Ms. Leigh and Mr. Johnson discussed the importance of good feet. What exactly are good feet? My daughter has a high arch and strong feet/ankles. Her big toe and the one next to it are even and the rest taper down. Her point, when sitting down with her legs out front is about an inch from touching the ground. Would this be considered acceptable?

My other question is regarding turn-out. Can a perfect turnout be learned or is it something that only comes naturally to those select few? My daughters turnout is very good but it is not "natural". She works very very hard at it. Pilates has helped her tremendously and the exercises she does at home are helping too. She works very hard at keeping the turnout she does have in each of the moves she is working on. She has been taught to not focus on height but only going as high as her turnout will let her.

My questions are more for the pre-professional schools and SI's. Do they look at the dancers feet? My daughters feet are a womens 8 and have basically stopped growing. (I hope) I have tried to explain to her that there is no point in worrying about "how big" they will be, because there is nothing she can do about it anyway. Also, what do the schools/SI's require as far as turn-out is concerned? She is almost completely turned out but has a bit more to go. Thanks for the help...we are beginning to prepare for the auditioning process and are gathering as much info as possible.

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Teresa, first. let me say that at 12 what they look for is potential. No one expects anything to be perfect at that age! Secondly, there are so few people with "perfect" rotation, that I think it is rather crazy to even think about using that term. The idea is to have rotation that is good enough to make all the lines of the body look good. The feet are a part of that line, of course, and it is very important to have good feet. High arches and insteps are important, but so is strength. Also developing the feet to their maximum potential takes time and learning to really USE them well. So, at 12, we look for a good foot, adequate rotation with potential for better, and a fair amount of flexibility, however that will also increase over time. To see what good feet look like, search out some photos from professional companies. ABT's Paloma Herrera has extremely good feet, but not everyone has feet like that. Hers are totally exceptional. However, most professional dancers have feet that approach that but are just a bit less extreme. Take a look at the Pointe Shoe Topics forum, one of the Sticky's which is about the foot's profile, and there is a photo there of the feet, in closeup, of a 14 year old with very good feet.

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Thanks so much for your response. I realize 12 is so young in the whole scheme of things but when reading the other thread, the age given for realistically looking at the potential for a professional career was 16 to 17. As I stated in my previous post, this January will be our first trip to the audition circuit and knowing what will be looked for will definetely help, even if it is nothing that can be changed (like the shape of ones feet!). Time goes by so quickly that my desire to gain as much knowledge as I can becomes almost a quest of sorts. I have tons of knowledge regarding ice skating but unfortunetely a very limited amount pertaining to ballet. Hence all the questions! :) Thanks for your patience with this novice ballet mom! :D

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Guest Cristina

Ms. Leigh,

 

Can you describe what you mean by potential? Redstorm's daughter sounds very similar to mine - except for the feet. My daughter has exceptionally small feet.

 

On another forum, I mentioned that I want to learn as much as I can over the next few months about the SI process. I am particularly interested in what schools look for.

 

When you say potential, do you mean strength? passion? At 12-13 what does potential mean?

 

Thanks for any light you can shed on this!

 

Cristina:)

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Christina, interesting that you should ask that question, as I just did an article about that for the Print Edition of Ballet Alert! In fact, that issue is in the mail now :) I explained facility and potential and there are some photos that show what I'm talking about.

 

At 12 or 13, in looking for potential, one is looking at physical facility, size, coordination, musicality, and of course focus, intelligence and committment. But in the article I explain how the physical facility can change, in terms of feet, rotation, flexibility, etc., or possibly not change, depending on a lot of different factors.

 

If I answered this question totally, it would be giving you everything that is in the article :) So, I think I will leave it here, and perhaps encourage more people to subscribe to Ballet Alert!, the Print Edition! ;)

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Guest Cristina

Ms. Leigh,

 

I suppose I can sign up from somewhere on this forum? Please direct me. The article you describe sounds like just what I am seeking.

 

Thanks very much for your quick response,

Cristina

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Guest Cristina

Ms. Leigh,

 

Nevermind. I found where to subscribe, and have done this. Will I get the issue that has your article in it?

 

Thanks,

Cristina

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Christina, I'm not sure, but if you click on Contact Us, below, and write to Alexandra and ask for that issue, I'm sure she can do that!

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  • 4 months later...

A physical trainer who works with the students in our school has the dancer wear what I believe are tango shoes with extremely high heels :shrug: in therapy sessions to improve foot strength. I recently found this out when, as a staff member in the school (as well as a parent), I happened to walk in on one of these private sessions. I was a bit startled to see a young girl in leotard and tights walking around in these rather sexy shoes as the p.t. observed her. Someone please tell me that this is a common form of foot strengthening therapy.

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Eek, that would scare me. As a former podiatric assistant, I remember the constant ( and I do mean constant) remarks made by the podiatrists that the very worst thing, without exception , for feet are high heels.

 

I'm afraid to say that what you describe makes me very, very uncomfortable and I'd want to have its merit checked out professionally.

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That is one of the weirdest things I've ever heard, and I have visited numerous physical therapists as well as been through many, many injury-prevention sessions at summer programs, and wearing high heels has absolutely never been mentioned.

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Nope. Check the license on this physical therapist. If certified, report him/her immediately. If not, report anyway to the head of the therapy dept. and the ballet school. In either case, get her out of that therapy and don't go back!

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