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Guest Ennovy

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Hi :( I'm new here! I have a question.



I 'm Asian ( Chinese ), and I often hear people say that Asians are borned to have bad turn out, because of having shorter limbs, it's harder for Asians to do turn out :D Is it true ? ? And I "do" have really really bad turn out :sweating:

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Hello Ennovy, welcome to the Young Dancers' forum on Ballet Alert! Online :(


There are some Asian body types with short legs, but I have also seen a lot of them with very long legs! The same goes for rotation. Many have good rotation, others do not. But, this is pretty much the same as people from just about anywhere!


The most difficult problem I have seen with a lot of Asian bodies is the lower leg, which seems to have more problem with turn out than the rotation from the hip, which is often quite good. Sometimes one or both, but more often one, of the legs will have a curve in the tibia (the larger bone down the front of the leg), which makes it hard to get the same amount of rotation in that part of the leg. This can also cause the feet to sickle. The answer to this is VERY careful placement of the leg, especially to the side. Sometimes it is necessary to keep the leg more forward, even though the hip rotates further, because the lower leg won't look turned out unless it is moved more forward. After all, it is more important to LOOK turned out, than to be at any certain number of degrees to the side. :sweating: It just takes some careful work by the teacher to place the dancer in a position that is right for their body.

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Thanks a lot :D I learned more!


Your words make me think of something :( , I always thought that if you could do a side split, you have good turn out. well, I could do a side split. So the main reason my turn out looks bad is really probably because of my lower legs ! This is more frustrating :sweating: Is there any exercises to help my lower leg?

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Ennovy, I think that the first thing would be to discuss this with your teacher and find out if it is actually the problem. I can't tell from here, and I was just describing what is sometimes the case. IF this is the problem, it's a bone structure thing, therefore you cannot cure it, however, you can train it to look much more turned out by placing it correctly for your body. Your teacher will have to do that. Some schools insist on 180º of rotation no matter what, and this is just not possible for everyone. It's really not possible for most people, nor is it necessary. Sometimes it destroys line rather than create it.


If the lower leg has tibial torsion, which is the term for this bone structure of the lower leg, then it depends on the degree, as well as how much actual rotation you have from the hips. Someone who understands this problem and knows how to work with it to achieve the correct line for ballet will have to work with you on this. It will take a while too, as, like everything else in ballet, it's not an instant fix. But, with a lot of work and attention by a knowledgeable teacher, it can be done. :thumbsup:

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hi Ennovy, I wouldn't worry too much if I were you ; there are both women and male Asian dancers at my schools, and most of them are good dancers and have a great turnout ...

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And then you could get a teacher like me, who's prejudiced IN FAVOR of Asian dancers. I just have to be careful that I don't let the prejudice work against non-Asians, but then I'm prejudiced in favor of a lot of other things, too! :thumbsup:

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Guest dancergal

Hi Ennovy! Actually I've never heard that Asians are born with bad turnout. I know that I'm Asian and I have average turnout, so like minty said, I don't think you should worry too much.

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Guest Lukayev

Hi there!


I, along with many other Asian/Half-Asian background students at both my ballet school and "regular school", experience tibia torsion, as Miss Leigh explained above. Essentially, my legs curve a bit outward from below my knee down to my ankle.


When I took an SI here this summer, I had Maria Vegh (a teacher at Marin Ballet School or somewhere in Marin County, I forget) take a look and give me a sort of "prescription" to lessen the appearance of the curve. The exercise I'll give you below has helped me not only with the curvature of my lower legs but also inner thigh strength and placement at the barre.


According to Miss Veigh, the National Ballet of Canada's school has their students do this exercise early on to prevent tibia torsion. The students sit on the floor with their legs outstretched in front of them, ankles touching each other. Now, from here, the students are instructed to envision their tibias forming a straight line from the knee all the way down the middle of the feet. The students try to align their lower legs as parallel as they can, though making sure to avoid cramping of the inner thigh or hamstring. Try to think of maybe two burly men on either side of your lower legs attempting to "close the gap". I can't really word this correctly without actually demonstrating, but the odds of you living in Hawaii are slim. :)


Also, watch your standing posture - if you tend to "drop" your weight onto the outside of your foot and stand with your weight on one leg (like how all the COOL people do, ahahaha :)) then this will only further the degree of tibia torsion. I've taken to trying the aforementioned exercise even when standing. Needless to say, I've gotten good remarks on my posture from both parents and teachers alike.


Whoosh, this is getting wordy. Alrighty, have fun and try the exercise, won't you? :)


(P.S. Ms. Vegh says the only ballerina she's encountered with perfect, straight-aligned legs is Colleen Neary. If anyone's familiar with her, can they confirm that? I find it hard to envision anyone without a very slight degree of tibia torsion.. :wacko: ) :)

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I can verify that. Ms. Neary was noted for long, long, perfectly straight legs. She was also all wire and whipcord, and no physical defect anywhere could be camouflaged. Fortunately, there were none to camouflage. She was a wonderful dancer. Ms. Vegh taught her while they were both at Harkness House for Ballet Arts.

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How nice to see you again, Lukayev! It's been a while. :)


Yes, if anyone would know how to recognize and help this problem, Maria Vegh would. We were trained as teachers by the same person :) While I still won't say that the actual line of the bone can be changed, I do agree that learning to adjust some things to make it look straight can work. And the more one focuses on it, and practices, as you have done, the better it will be.

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Thanks Lukayev :D !!!! I understand your exercise! Your a great explainer !I'm doing it everyday now, wish I could really turn out B) I wonder could it really make ,y lower legs straighter ~



I'm also wondering, I could turn out when I'm doing first, second, and fifth positions..etc, but I always get kind of turned in when I'm doing Tendu. I get corrected like in every class I take :rolleyes: , Is this also a problem because of my lower legs :wacko: I'm sure I'm turning out from my hip, cause I squeazed my best, though my teacher still tells me to turn out from my hip...

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OH, wait! Somebody said the magic word - squeeze.


Ennovy, what's squeezing? If you're squeezing your buttocks, chances are very good that you're tilting your pelvis so far forward that it starts to tilt backward, making real rotation from the hip even more difficult. Is that what's happening?

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Ennovy, this might be a language thing, or translation problem. The term "squeezing" would indicate to us that the muscles are being gripped, or held much too tightly to allow the proper movement to happen. There is a big difference between USING the muscles in the derrière and SQUEEZING them! They must be used in order to rotate the legs, but if you overuse, or squeeze them, it forces the pelvis to "tuck under" and grip, and then nothing works! Hope this makes sense and helps you. Let me know if it is still not clear.

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