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Turnout anatomical ability


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Can a teacher see whether or not a dancer is capable of an accpetable amount of turnout and if so at what age does it become obvious that someone is well under the 55 degrees for example and will never attain it for anatomical reasons.

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Actually yes, professional teachers can tell if a student will be able to progress with turn out. Getting out the measuring tape and deciding exactly how much by degrees...no, I do not think so. :pinch: At what age depends upon the student and each teacher. One of the points of teaching ballet at all levels is to teach someone how to understand their body and be the best they can be. :shrug:

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Knock, knock - parent of an under 13 aged student:


After our daughter sprained her ankle at school, she had a full assessment by a physical therapist who specializes in working with dancers. The assessment was given BECAUSE our daughter dances and the therapist wanted to take the opportunity to discuss dance related issues - including turnout.


We were told that although each of us has our own natural degree of turnout, the body (in most cases) can be trained to increase the range of turnout. She did note that there are structural limits and that not every professional dancer has "perfect" turnout.


She also told our daughter (and as the teachers here on BT4D have stated on several threads) that it is unsafe to force her turnout beyond her natural range and that she should work on engaging her gluteous and abdominal muscles to increase the strength necessary to properly hold her turnout.

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My daughter who is 14 does not have flat turn-out, but is learning to use what she has - while of course stretching to increase mobility and rotation of the hips. As a teacher I would comment that often the girls who have flat turn out in frog or box splits (just to give sample positions), and even hold it quite well at the barre, often cannot maintain it once they start moving in the centre. The end result can be that someone who appears not to have much turnout can look better turned out than some others - who appear to have more - when dancing.

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I couldn't agree more Doubleturn. My daughter - now 17 still can not get any where near the floor in the frog position - she was told at one school - when she was young that she did not have enough turn out to dance ballet. However years of determination and hard work stretching and strengthening has increased her hip mobility and rotation significantly. Last year during SI auditions and at her advanced cechetti exam, those assessing her commented on how beautifully turned out she was!

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You can add my DD to the group of dancers without perfect turnout. She has also seen, in various classes over the years, that some of the girls most capable of good natural turnout (as seen in frogs, etc.) actually look turned in when dancing. However, she is in need of some suggestions for stretches to maximize what she has, if anyone would be kind enough to share. An additional question is: at SI auditions, or residency program auditions, are there schools who look at the dancers first and make decisions based on turnout ability? For example, at such an audition, would a school look at a dancer without perfect turnout and reject them, reasoning that they could not do as well in the program as another dancer with good turnout? If so, do they even look at their actual dancing, or is the decision already made? I understand if no one here knows the answer to this, but I am wondering, before auditions begin again, how important a factor it is. Thank you!

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Turn out is a necessary component of ballet however it is not everything. Very few students of ballet or professional dancers have perfect turn out and if they do, well, it still takes good training to understand how to use it.


Each school has its own criteria for selection for their SIs and further criteria for selection into the full-time program. On top of that each adjudicator has their idea of what constitutes talent. There is no formula! The best advice may be to just take a chance and see. It is a great experience for all to audition. Look at the website of the various schools to read their criteria, make phone calls to the schools to ask any and all questions. If you are disatisfied with the answers you receive ask to speak with someone else until you are satisfied your questions are answered. Sometimes one might be speaking to the wrong person, just because someone answers a phone that does not mean they are able to help you with your questions. Go to visit the schools that interest you. There is much to be learned!


Please do not make turn out an a focal point. Ballet has so much more to offer! :)

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Just adding one here to vrs' excellent response. Don't forgot that rotation can be vastly different when gravity is involved! Some people with what looks like great turn out when they are sitting down or lying down, may not have such great turn out at all when gravity takes over! It's really in how well it is developed and used, not how much is there to start with. :) I would never negate a student just by looking at them before I see them dance! :blink:

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My DD also doesn't have perfect turnout, but she does have other attributes, such as good feet, musicality, and very strong with her jumps( these are things that teachers have told her). She has been discouraged over the years, but she has accepted it, and she concentrates on what she can do. She must be doing something right, as she was asked to attend the year round program at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre this summer while attending their intensive.

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Hi all,


I just wanted to say that my DD did not have turnout or flexibility naturally. :unsure: Her teacher would show her proper turnout for her and not allow her to force it. Gradually her teacher would see improvement and allow her to inrease her turnout. :) I was watching class the other day and was amazed! Her teacher said her turnout is at just about 180 degress. She also is able to do splits on both sides and the middle splits are coming. I think it is just consistent hard work! They must be patient and just work those muscles. :thumbsup:



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Probably, since it hurts. However, forcing turn-out was the likely culprit in causing the tendonitis and bursitis, along with a lack of strength in the supporting muscles. I hope it gets better soon. :)

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It sounds like the situation may be controllable, with proper exercises and care :) And you're welcome! :)

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My dd is lucky enough to have 180 turnout in the hips (and lies in the frog to watch TV - ouch!) - however- she doesn't have the same fullness of turnout with her feet and has some shortness of the tendons in the calves. She's also very flexible - however - has lack of core strength and has to work very hard with it. We often want what we don;t have, yet most gifts also come with other challenges. The other girls tell her how lucky she is - meanwhile she is envious of those with core strength and turned out feet.

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