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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Turned in Knees


Guest Jdisc11663

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Guest Jdisc11663

My daughter is a freshman in college where she is a BFA Acting major with a dance concentration. She has danced for almost 10 years. She is an incredible jazz, hip hop and tap dancer but Ballet has always been a challenge for her from her waste down!!! (except when it comes to turns and jumps)

 

Standing straight---Her knees literally are turned in and her lower legs (calves) are bowed out and no matter how much she turns out with her hips (and her feet) her knees will not move. Is there a name for this? Is there anything she can do?

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No, it sounds like the problem is in the structure of the lower leg. Her rotation from the hip could be very good, but the legs from the knee down do not turn out. This is tibial torsion. It is particularly common in Asian structure, and it is usually much more pronounced in one leg than the other, although it can be in both. I have worked with a lot of Asian dancers with this problem, and the key is in finding the place where they can make the rotation work for them. It will most likely involve less rotation than ideal, but still possible to make a good line, with proper coaching and placement.

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Guest Jdisc11663

Victoria,

 

Thank you for the information!!! Now we can do some research.

 

Unforunately, she will not be getting any help from her current instructor in college, he has made it clear to her that with her knees he doesn't want to be bothered.

 

How would it be possible to make a good line? Is there a particular "area"?

 

If you can refer me to any other sites or links regarding this I would really appreciate it.

 

Thanks again.

 

JD

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I really feel this has to be worked on visually, not from reading about it. She needs to work with a teacher who understands the problem and knows how to make it work, and it's very individual. There is no "blanket" correction. Everything has to be adjusted to her limitations.

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Not a parent but an adult here. The topic grabbed my attention.

I have been told I have tibial torsion too.

It was back in high school when a doctor measured it and told me. Nobody had thought anything of what was my funny walk. If I had realized what pain it would bring in adulthood I'd have been asking what they could do to straighten it when I was young; even if it meant breaking and resetting the twisted bone(s).

If my knees are pointed straight ahead, my right foot is visibly turned out and the left one is too but not so much.

 

I always wondered which way my hips were really straight: if my feet were parallel with one knee pointing in, knees parallel, or somewhere in between???

 

In other words, are my thighs are twisted too ???

 

I wonder if I am using my hips straight when walking around daily with one foot turned out. I don't want to do like many dancers who walk around turned out all the time. It just seems like a bad idea.

I also wonder if I should try to even up my turn out in class or go to my max on both sides with uneven knees and really uneven feet placement.

I do go through tendinitis often based on the abnormal gait pattern whether I am dancing or not. I am the person all that healthy walking is bad for.

I know lots of people on this board have mentioned uneven turnouts but didn't catch if they try to use a more even one or not while dancing.

It seems like a lot to consult a teacher about.

I have been considering asking my orthopedist for an evaluation (not that much could be done about it at my age; especially if it is twisted bone) but to see if it could be soft tissue based and just very ingrained. If I (or a teacher who doesn't know me) push my knee out over my toes in demi plie, my heel comes off the floor. I do maintain the push in that direction as much as possible without the heel lifting. One of my teachers in college told me to just keep pushing in that direction. She was the only one until that time that didn't look at me with a blank stare that said "what are you doing here if you are crooked?" when I point out why my plies look bad.

Sorry to run on but it sounds like people here know stuff about this....

 

Laschwen

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Knock knock -- I'm also an adult, but wanted to respond to Laschwen's post despite the wrong forum.

 

Laschwen, I've got that same kind of complication with my shins. While it doesn't seem very unusual for people to have feet slightly turned out from the knee, it is a real pain to work with when it's unequal. My right foot turns out quite noticeably when my knees are parallel, the left less so. I've also got very uneven rotation from the hips, as the right femur is apparently twisted.

 

It has been very important for me to have a good PT. My ballet teachers are understanding, but they just don't have the time to keep correcting that one flaw in class :clapping:. I work within the limits of the worse leg, though that makes my turnout really pitiful, since weight placement and alignment have been more important to me than the amount of turnout. The PT has helped me to compensate for the crookedness and keep dancing safely.

 

(It's a really bad idea for me to force that knee to track over the toes, since then the weight is distributed incorrectly, the foot supinates too much, and this contributes to tendonitis and other overuse injuries.)

 

- Sanna

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Sanna,

 

Thanks. It seems you have some very important info for me here; especially about the tendonitis. I may have been aggravating my own for years while trying to do work straighter.

I have had lots of PT over the years but good, I don't know for sure. The Massage Therapist in the office is spectacular but the PT's....???

I PM'd some more stuff but I have to say thanks here. I feel better talking to someone who is dancing with similar structure and getting along well enough.

Feel free to PM any more experience that might be informative.

 

-Laschwen

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One more related thing:

Has anyone seen the episode of Ballroom Bootcamp where they had a woman with bow legs as one contestant? Yes, I watch. It is like watching a car wreck; rather painful but fascinating still.

Anyway, her coach sent her to a rolfer who supposedly helped her legs get straighter. I couldn't really see it.

I have been for a few rolfing sessions and it is supposed to balance out muscle tension and improve posture, but I don't know about the bow leg thing. I thought that was all bone????

 

Laschwen

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It is.

 

There are some things you can do to correct it, but it's not something that you can learn or be poked and prodded into in a couple of sessions. It's something like the better part of a year to correct.

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There's something about the shape of my legs that makes it look like I turn in when coming out of plie. I've done some very careful plies in 2nd, staring at my legs and hips in the mirror, and there's nothing I can do about it. It's just the shape of the bones.

 

It drives some teachers insane, others don't think it looks bad at all. All I can do is work with my turnout best I can. I have a fair amount of turnout from the hips, but I'll just never be one of those dancers with amazing looking rotation. Oh well.

 

I've been watching dancers every day, all day long. Moving in a secure, clean way goes a LONG way in hiding anatomical "flaws". In my company, there a huge variety of body types and physical abilities. On stage, everyone looks virtually identical and moves in a similar way. Good training and coaching takes care of these differences, so long as the body is capable of a decent level of classical technique.

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