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Ballet Talk for Dancers



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When doing splits with one leg in front of you and the other behind you (please forgive my newbie ignorance for not knowing what these are called), should you try to keep your legs parallel or turned-out - especially with respect to the back leg? In other words, should your back knee face down with your leg completely underneath you or should you try to rotate it out. (It seems harder for me to keep my leg underneath me when I work to turn it out).

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Yes, in a grand écart - a split - the legs are turned out. Especially the rear one. Funny thing about a lot of ballet, if it comes to a question of what's right and what's wrong, is that the more difficult way is usually the correct one!

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Oh, I kind of figured as much. :wallbash: It is ballet, ya know. To paraphrase my teacher, "It ain't ballet if there ain't no turn-out!" I will say, though, that, in a wierd way, it almost feels easier to do them turned-out. When turned out, they don't seem to strain my hip flexor (or something around that area- ???) as much, but that might be because I am cheating a little bit. Who knows? :shrug:

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I always stretch in a split with parallel legs and the hips completely square. In my class, we use the split to specifically stretch our hamstrings as well as the muscles in front of the hips. My teacher seems to feel that if flexibility isn't yet developed, the turned out split has the potential to be stressful on the knees and hips. Advanced dancers do more variations of the split, of course.


I think the turned-in split is a different stretch from the turned-out version and both ways serve thier own purposes. You definitely want a turned out position in a grande jete or penchee. I think the turned in version really does a good job of stretching the hips though. Especially the side that the back leg comes out of. You need this flexibility to ensure that you always can have you weight over the standing hip while you work.

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Thanks for your feedback. They seem like two different stretches to me too. I definitely feel the stretch more in my hip flexor (or something in that area) when my legs are parallel.

Edited by hart
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  • 2 weeks later...

My ballet teacher always wants them turned out, especially the back leg, for arabesques and jetes. My jazz teacher always wants the splits parallel. They tend to stretch you slightly differently

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