Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Will my turn out hinder my technique?


Niphredil

Recommended Posts

Just to update, I'm 19 (20 in December) and am doing my first year on the BA Dance Theatre programme at Laban, London. I'm working towards a career in contemporary/modern dance, but I still love ballet and we have four classes a week at school.

 

We have just had a total body check, where they looked for weaknesses and strengths in all the dancers, to give advice on what to work on, how to prevent future injuries and such things. One of the things was measuring turn-out, on things I believe is called rotator discs (you stand on these moving platforms, and then turn out to your first position, and then you can measure the degree of turn-out you have).

 

I found out that I only have about 100 degrees, which is less than I thought. So I'm of course a bit disappointed, but since there's not much to do about it except using it to the fullest and keep working on it I decided not to dwell too much on it. But the thing that worries me is that it might hinder my ballet training. Although I'm not going to be a ballerina, I'd still like to improve and have as good technique as possible, as I think that it helps my contemporary dancing a lot too.

 

So my question is if my turn-out will hinder me from improving my ballet technique? It might not look as nice as a better turn-out does, but I don't want to force anything or do harm to my body in any way, but still do my best in ballet. I'd really appreciate your opinions on this!

 

Christina

Link to comment

One may improve a 100° turnout by conscientious use of the hip flexors and hamstring muscles, which provide rotation of the femur in the hipjoint. It is a slow process, and must not be forced. Improvement of the turnout is achieved gradually, or injury must necessarily follow. Strange to say, 100° is not an unusual figure to find, even in students who have been studying for several years. :pinch:

Link to comment

Thanks Mr. Johnson, that actually made me feel a bit better :)

So how can I improve my turn out, except for working hard in class? Are there any specific exercises I can do on the side to strengthen hip flexors and hamstrings, as you mentioned? Any other tips on how to work more with those muscles in class also? Thank you! :thumbsup:

Link to comment

There's really no way to hurry it up. Paying close attention to rotation of the thigh in the hipsocket is the long, slow, but sure way to improving it. Rond de jambe is the most important single piece of all barre exercise for improving rotation.

Link to comment

That's what I suspected. There are no shortcuts in ballet, are there? :) I just wondered if there was anything I could do on the side to aid the work I'm doing in class. Thank you so much for your help on this, it's greatly appreciated! :thumbsup:

Link to comment

I have never seen a device to stand on to measure turn out. The closest I have for myself is square floor tiles. If you use the inside line of your foot and stand with the floor seams just inside the feet at 90 and then rotate outward with one foot it is fairly easy to estimate how much further you go. You could track your own progress like this I suppose.

I just did it expecting to see that 100 degree you have but I was surprised to see I moved out to about 120 degrees. I always thought it kind of stank in use but my teacher doesn't complain.

I have never aspired to 180 degrees but I would love to see about 150 degrees for myself. I don't know if that much improvement is possible.

 

Laschwen

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

(I wasn't sure if I should have opened a new thread, but I thought that this had to do with the same thing. Please edit if I'm wrong! :angry: )

 

We had ballet class with another teacher yesterday, and she told me that I was "under-turning out", i.e. not using my full turn-out and rolling out on the outsides of my feet because of that. I guess this has to do with the fact that I earlier in my training forced my turn-out and my feet rolled in, and that I now am trying to correct it but maybe too much :P So this teacher helped me to place myself more correctly, but it felt a bit strange and I had a hard time holdingand maintaining it, especially my pelvis wanted to tip forward. I didn't feel like I was twisting or forcing, but I'm a bit worried that I might go back to that bad habit.

 

My questions are: Could the fact that I had a hard time holding my placement simply be a lack of strength, or am I still doing something wrong? And second, even if I didn't FEEL any twisting or pain in the knees, could I still be doing harm to my knees (if I start forcing again without realising)? Or am I OK as long as I don't feel any pain?

 

Christina

Link to comment

I'm surprised that turnout was measured this way, since turnout is meant to come from the hip, and measuring it at the foot means that any extra rotation between the knee and the foot (bad idea!) is included. When my turnout was measured, I was lain on my back, with lower legs hanging off the edge of what I was lying on, and my leg, bent 90 deg at the knee, was rotated outwards, and the amount of rotation measured. This seems to get rotation (passive only) at the hip accurately. Which is the best way?

 

Jim.

Link to comment
My questions are: Could the fact that I had a hard time holding my placement simply be a lack of strength, or am I still doing something wrong? And second, even if I didn't FEEL any twisting or pain in the knees, could I still be doing harm to my knees (if I start forcing again without realising)? Or am I OK as long as I don't feel any pain?

 

 

Niphredil, you seem to be asking all of the right questions. This is a very good place to begin! :angry:

 

In order to "hold" your placement one does need to understand where it needs to be. With each bit of "new" information a student can be reaching for the ideal through diligence and determination. Without seeing you, it is difficult to say exactly what might be going on, but continued work toward your goal to improve your placement with the guidance of your teacher generally can strengthen your work. It will take time. Try to image the back of your supporting thigh drawing a perpendicular line to the floor and the line from the front of your pelvis to the thigh remaining as flat as a can be. None of this can be achieved with rolling in either direction on your feet. There is so much more involved with turnout of course, but hopefully these two images may help you too. Discuss them with your teacher to see if this is what she/he is working on with you!

 

As for harming your knees, all knees are different. Follow the general rule that if you feel twisting, something is not right and if it hurts, something may really not be right. Correct body placement is like constructing a building, all of the joints must be reinforced. There must be stability or the building could fall down!

Link to comment

And there are two ways of testing rotation, one passive, described by jim above, and weight-bearing, which involves standing on two "lazy-susan" gizmos and rotating the leg from the hip while the measurement is taken with weight on the feet. Sometimes, they can be alarmingly different numbers!

Link to comment
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...