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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Duck Walk - Turning out while walking


chauffeur

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The thread on running and ballet reminded me of something we've encountered with a few of DD's teachers through the years, and I'm interested to hear what others might be hearing.

 

There seems to be two schools of thought on the issue of dancers walking (and running) with permanently turned-out feet. It seems like the old school regards this as almost a badge of honor for a dancer to have his or her feet facing 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock all the time. But then, increasingly, we've encountered teachers who say this is not an inevitable and necessary physiological development and in fact a dancer should try hard to maintain the ability to stand in parallel with their feet and knees straight forward.

 

I would probably subscribe to the latter point of view, simply because it makes sense that a dancer needs to keep a full range of motion through the whole waist-down area. You lose that ability or natural inclination to point your feet straight ahead, and I would think it can hinder your dancing, let alone crank up the likelihood of knee and hip and you-name-it injuries. But at the same time, I know that many (though not all) professional dancers I've met do the duck walk.

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I agree its best to walk as naturally as possible. I think one of the reasons many ballet dancers take modern is to help keep the strength of their internal and external rotators at least somewhat balanced. We turn out so much, why not give everything a few moments to relax as much as possible.

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mirabray,

 

DD physical therapist said not to walk this way, and it does help turn out.

 

I'm not clear on what you are saying. When you say "DD physical therapist said not to walk this way", is "this way" referring to walking turned-out, the Duck Walk as chauffeur put it? And when you say, "it does help turn out", is "it" referring to walking turned-out or not walking turned-out that helps turnout? Or, did you intend to say "doesn't" help turnout?

 

Thanks for any clarification on what you are saying.

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Very good topic, Chauffeur.

It is good for dancers to try to walk as normally as possible. This has to do with re-balancing the muscles. Dancers do spend so much time en dehor, that the other muscles will cease to be worked as much, and then they'll end up like me- unable to water ski/snow ski/skateboard, basically anything that requires parallel legs!!! :)

Clara 76

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Not to mention that "duck walkers" (like myself and DS) end up with a lot of broken baby toes from catching them on table legs and such! OUCH!! :(

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dancindaughters

But if a child had always walked "like a duck", would it not be LESS natural and more damaging for them to attempt to walk with toes straight ahead? I do think my dd would have trouble with skiing, and her skating instructor also reminds her to not turn out for certain moves (she does have a beautiful Ina Bauer though!) Would it be advisable to contact a sports medicine MD and have them evaluate her stride? I know that she is able to work in parallel when required for modern, so at least she is exercising those muscles occassionally.

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Victoria Leigh

Well, first of all, dancers should not be skiing anyway! :(

 

I think that we do tend to exaggerate the "duck walk" thing way beyond what is natural or necessary. Not turning out at all, though, would be somewhat counter to what we are trained to do. We spend most of our lives trying to obtain better rotation, so it makes sense that we would also do that when not dancing.

 

That said, by someone who has always walked turned out, quite naturally, I also never had a problem not turning out when needed for contemporary or modern works.

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I was a natural "duck walker" and unfortunately quite dancing at 10 for gymnastics. And there they used to call me Mary Poppins when I tumbled and duck feet are not good for power tumbling.

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I'm naturally turned out, but have never danced, so it's not a "learned" thing (or at least, I don't think so.) Interestingly, I just started yoga, which places an emphasis on parallel feet, and I feel like I'm working against myself to some degree--stretches are more difficult, balance is more difficult, etc. But, I do have problems with my hips and lower back, so I'm hoping the yoga will help.

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Well, first of all, dancers should not be skiing anyway! :lol:

 

Aw shucks!!! There goes my dream of an Olympic Gold in the Skiing category! :lol::yucky:

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DD physical therapist said not to walk this way", yes I was referring to walking turn out, she said dancers think it will help make their turn out better if they walk turn out, but it doesn't. And they should walk regular.

 

Does anyone differ. If try to walk regular, does this decrease your turn out.

 

PT said it was better for her to walk regular, (this was a dance PT)

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Victoria Leigh

Personally, I don't feel that it is harmful, as long as they don't exaggerate it. If it is a slight turn out, that would be quite normal for a dancer. They don't need to actually walk like a duck! :yucky:

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I dont know if im allowed to post here or not :sweating:

 

my appologies if not, just that i have been reading this post and felt i should add my experience. I have only been taking ballet class for one year, although have studied other dance aswell, i dont have particularly good turnout and for some unknown reason i started to stand in first most of the time (at bus stops, at work - in the shop, probably most of my time standing!)

 

Also i have noticed this habit of walking turned out, no one has suggested or noticed this, recently my turnout has had a huge improvement despite having no ballet classes for several weeks. I have never intended or thought that if i do this it will increase turnout. My turnout has significantly improved one way or the other.

( I have even noticed how the shape of my legs has changed - muscles look different and i have to stress there is no force or discomfort whatsoever!)

 

It is intresting to read this topic and peoples experience and opinion.

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My daughter's teacher tells his students, "Walk normal; dance turned-out."

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