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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Keeping a turn-out


LaMusicienne

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I've got this annoying problem of turning in when doing eleve or releve on one leg. For example, in pas de cheval, it's like my supporting leg doesn't want to stay turned out, so once I eleve, the leg automatically starts to rotate inward. It gets to the point where I'm so frustrated that I grab onto the barre and try to force my leg back out, but I guess that's not the wisest thing to do. :yes: And it happens especially when I start to tire out, so not only does my knee turn in, but it begins to wobble.

 

Is there a way - like strengthening exercises - to keep the supporting leg rotated outward?

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It's just like singing or playing an instrument. "Keep doing what you can't do until you CAN do it, then remember what you did, and keep doing that." Practice, practice, practice. Keeping rotation while in relevé is not easy, and requires full engagement of the muscles we generally shorthand to "turnout muscles".

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I have this problem too. Conditioning for Dance has some exercises to help which I have been doing. In a couple of weeks I should know whether or not they work. I have a very good turnout (like 170 or so, not 100% perfect but definitely good enough) so my teacher will stand there and correct my turnout because "it's so good" and "I need to use it". So any information will be helpful to me as well.

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Since the amount of turnout depends on flexibility, I'm kind of baffled as to why mine... well, sucks. I'm extremely flexible (I think it's natural, considering I'm not a hardcore dancer but am more flexible than a lot of the more seasoned ones at my studio) and I can easily push my knees to the ground when doing a butterfly stretch (I believe that one stretches the rotator muscles?), but I can't turn out more than ~ 115 degrees, and that's pushing it. There are a couple of other beginners in my class with better turn out than I have, but when stretching, aren't nearly as flexible. Am I just weird? :blink:

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I don't think turnout has anything to do with flexibility at all. I am somewhat flexible but not that great, an older lady in my class has the same turnout as me and she is of average flexibility. The book Conditioning for Dance has information on turnout. My teacher also said turnout is pretty much set at 14, but if you have a great one then you just need to work on holding it.

 

Also, please don't push on your knees during butterfly! It's really bad for your knees. It's similar to doing the "froggy" stretch, so try not to do this.

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Hmmm... I thought I read somewhere that turnout depends on flexibility of the rotator muscles.

 

I tend to push my knees more as a place to keep my hands... I'll be sure keep my hands away from now on :wacko:

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Oh, yeah, I think that's true but just because you can do all 3 splits and a variety of things doesn't mean your rotator muscles are. I believe that this is true since some peoples are not as flexible as others. I'll read my book again and see what it says and reply for you.

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Flexiblility refers to extension, not rotation. Lots of people can kick their legs very high, but that does not make them rotated.

 

Rotation on the floor and rotation in weight bearing positions can also be quite different. It takes a LONG time, and a lot of work, including absolutely correct alignment and weight placement, to be able to work the rotators fully in a weight bearing position.

 

The butterfly is not a dangerous stretch, and it does not hurt to push the knees down, just don't allow the feet to sickle! Do NOT pull the toes up, lift the heels up instead. I don't like the frog stretch, but I really see no harm in the butterfly.

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Sorry if I am beeing stupid but....the butterfly is where you sit on the floor, your feet together and then you push your knees slightly towards the floor and the frog is the on you lay on your stomache with your feet together? (Confusion of the english expression :) )

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That's right. Teachers used to advise students to do the frog while watching television. Now, a more advanced dancer can do that without harm, but a beginner might just hurt her/himself, because there are so many things to pay attention to with that stretch. The butterfly is safer, so preferable.

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I've been advised not to push down on my knees while doing any exercise. I'd suggest asking a doctor/pt/chiropractor before attempting this because they will say exactly what I am saying... it puts unnessecary stress on yours knees. While the butterfly may not be AS bad as the frog it still is not something you should do. Plus, I rarely see any benefits with this. But if you do do the butterfly regardless of what anyone says push on the upper thighs and not the knees.

 

I'll post an exercise later for turnout which is safe and puts no unnecessary pressure on your knees. Cause I'm not sure about anyone else but my grandmother had a lot of knee pain troubles and I'd rather not experience it.

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Thanks, we do the butterfly sometimes in class but never the frog. I did it a lot at home but I have never seen any progress so I stopped doing it and concentrated on the butterfly.

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