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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Using my natural turnout in class


nicola_tendu_it

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Well, to start off, I have limited natural turnout. Turnout from my left hip is decent I suppose, but my right hip turns in more than it willl turn out. (I think this means I have an anteverted hip structure?) I've noticed lately that at the barre I seem to be forcing my turnout a little bit in order to achieve the turnout my teachers require. I just read Deborah Vogel's book, Tune Up Your Turnout, and it's been so helpful to me. In the book she says that for dancers with limited turnout, it's best to work in your own first position, maybe only at 90 degrees. I think that would be more efficient for me, and I know it would be easier on my knees. The problem is, at my pre-professional level, my teachers would almost certainly have a problem with a 90 degree first position, even if that was natural for me. Anything less than maybe 130 degrees is unacceptable. So my question: Do I continue to force my turnout so it is "acceptable", or do I work in my natural turnout, and continue to improve it? If I need to work in my natural turnout, do I/how do I explain to my teachers why I am not "fully rotating"? :yes:

 

I have been doing some rotation exercises, and I feel that my rotators are getting stronger. I've also been stretching the necessary muscles in my hips to increase my range of motion. I see improvement, but I'm convinced it can only be a slow, steady process. I hope that my turnout will not always be so limited, that it will improve with concentration and hard work. I've only been seriously dancing or about 2 yrs. It's only been in the past few months that I've truly understood the concept of rotation and the muscles that initiate it. From what I understand about turnout, I would get the best benefit from working in a natural turnout and engaging my muscles fully. When I am in my forced first position, I think there is less chance improvement because of the strain on the knees. Does any of that make sense?

 

Thanks for any help.

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Yes, it makes sense, however, at your age and in a pre-professional level, I do think that you will need to work with more rotation than 45º with each leg. It's very important not to hurt your knees, and not to force your turnout, but in order to dance at an advanced level there will just have to be more than that. That degree of rotation will not even give you a 5th position, therefore everything you do in the center will be turned in. I would suggest taking some lower level classes to work on the rotation more slowly and carefully, without forcing, but definitely with working it to your maximum ability without rolling or pain.

 

If your teachers try to push you too far, explain that your knees are hurting.

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