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Turnout problems on supporting leg


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I have a problem that’s been very resistant to improvement. I have very good turnout for someone who started ballet as an adult, and I don’t have too much trouble maintaining the rotation on my extended leg, or when both feet are on the floor (in sous-sous, bourres or things like that). My problem is maintaining my turnout on the supporting leg when the other is extended… in some adagio combinations, especially when the body direction changes, my supporting leg starts to creep towards parallel, or my body starts to twist in an effort to maintain the rotation. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I’m doing wrong, or things I can do to improve? I’m getting rather frustrated, because this is one area where I’m seeing very little improvement… when I try to work on it, my hips seem to have a tendancy to stiffen up, making it even harder to turnout.

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My advice is to be patient and just “think” turn out and presenting the heel in both legs. Don’t do anything, just think it. Ballet is an activity in which, especially for those who start late, improvement comes slowly, sometimes imperceptibly, but with disciplined practice and plenty of classes, eventually it comes.


I think turnout is largely a habit that comes with time. If you want to “do” something, you might try concentrating on what the standing leg is doing when doing your barre exercises. Again, I would suggest just thinking it and monitoring it rather than actively trying to move.

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Make sure that your turnout comes from the hips and not just from the knees or feet. I have naturally overturned ankles which makes it easy to stand on both feet completely turned out. Lifting my leg, however, requires to follow my natural hip turnout and there is a lot of strength necessary. Just keep an eye on it where your turnout comes from. I realised my foot-overrotation quite late as I did not force it at all. If my legs were 180 degree turned out from the hips my feet would look backwards!! ;-)

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The reason it is harder to maintain turnout on a single supporting leg is because you have nothing to "brace" against - with two feet on the floor, they work in opposition.


With time and greater strength, this problem will lessen. Like Gary said, think about the turnout on that leg all the time. In addition, you could do exercises for the turnout outside of class. My favorite is to stand on a thin book on one foot (or on a stair, or whatever works). this way the other foot has room to move without misaligning the hips. Then, simply take the non-standing leg and move from a turned in to a turned out position (from parallell to where it would be in a first position). I usually do a mix of single count "in-out-in-out" exercises as well as eight to sixteen slow counts of holding the turnout. This exercise is excellent for feeling which muscles are responsible for turning out from the hip, and strengthening them.


By now I don't even bother to stand on anything, I just 'lean away' from the leg I want to work so it can move over the floor without sticking. I do these exercises whenever I'm bored (waiting in line, etc.).



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Guest prokofiev

Oooh, great tip, Jayo. I just tried the thin book idea and it's just the thing I've been looking for to work my lazy left leg. (I'm not too innovative in the physics department and the idea of standing on something just didn't occur to me in all this time... :green: )


Here's to you! :shrug:

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Thanks for the advice everyone... I'll just keep on working on it, and I'll try jayo's suggestion.

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I've been trying it while I wait for the lights to change at scary intersections, hanging a little off the curb, and I almost got flattened by a UPS truck on my way to class yesterday! But that's irrelevant-- because it really seems to work, my turnout muscles have never been so sore! Thanks.

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