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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Training turn-out muscles


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When I do the butterfly and things like that, I have quite a lot of turn out, but I don't yet have the muscle strength to use it at all. So I've been doing the various exercises from webposts, books and last but not least my teachers, but I don't seem to progress. :wink:


I'm not sure how fast muscles grow so maybe I just need to be more patient, but I've been wondering if it's possible that what I'm doing is actually counter-productive.


For example in the exercise where you lie on your back, stretch your legs upwards, flex your feet and then turn your legs out, my knees (or more specifically my patellas) aren't pointing to the sides completely, but maybe 160 degrees or so. If I develop muscle strength in that position, will the muscles stick that way and keep me from going beyond those 160 degrees?


But if so, what is there to be done? Lack of muscle strength keeps me from full rotation, but lack of full rotation keeps me from working on muscle strength! I'm beginning to feel quite hopeless now... :blink:




And apart from that: could this be optical somehow? Because the weird thing is that the insides of both my calves AND my thighs DO point forward, so they seem to be turned out 90 degrees each. And since my knees are between them... Now I'm just really confused about my knees! :)

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I think you are over-analyzing it, Cathy! :wink: But seriously, rotation in a non-weight bearing position, and in a weigh bearing position can be very different. It also takes a very long time to increase rotation, and yes, there is a limit. Not everyone can attain 180º. Learning to USE what you have really well, and continuing to work on increasing it, is imperative. I would not worry about building muscle strength that would prevent it, as if you are stretching, then you are not building, you are hopefully increasing flexibility.

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My teacher has been focussing on this with me. When I come up from plie in fondu he wants me to maintain more turnout. He asked me if I felt the extra work when I performed the movement that way. Basically, what I gather is that you need to focus on maintaining rotation while you're moving, not forcing it in standing poses or worrying about it during stretches on the floor. Perhaps imagery would help you focus. I need to think about keeping my heel forward when I developpe to the side, for example.

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Thank you both!

My teacher said the same thing about my heel in developpé.

I'll just work on stuff like that, and ronds de jambes and such.


Thanks again!

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