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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Turnout anatomical ability


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Victoria Leigh

Physical Therapists deal in percentages. Teachers use their eyes. We can work with someone and tell what the potential for rotation is. I have never thought of it in terms of a percentage. Putting numbers on it is like putting numbers on weight. It doesn't work. Weight is not about numbers, it's about what that particular structure looks like. The same goes for rotation. The students either have the ability to increase the rotation to a good enough degree, or they don't. We can usually tell that after working with them for a very short time. One of the reasons for this is that we don't expect beginners to show rotation because they have never used it. Over a short period of time we can see if the student is learning to use what they have, and if there is a potential for further development, to a degree that will be workable. Too many variables here to put numbers and percentages on that, at least for me.

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pointeprovider

A question for the dance educators on this board: Is there an age (or a number of years of training, if the dancer began ballet late) at which it is no longer possible to learn to use what they have, or at which they have reached full turnout potential and can no longer improve it? Or, with better training, could this be improved throughout their dancing life? Thank you!

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Well, as we hardly ever know for sure what the true anatomical possibility of turn out is for most students, for even the most used tests cannot be entirely accurate (tight muscles, gripping, etc.), it is probably nearly impossible to say for sure that a person has really reached a point where nothing more is possible.

In my experience, if a person has not been training and stretching throughout the growing-years, then it may indeed be very difficult for that person to improve much on their turnout.. unless they have a pretty good amount of natural turnout and flexibility and just need to work on it. (ie: did not know they were that flexible)

However, there are often exceptions, and I would not want to say that so-and-so should not even bother to _try_ if they have not been dancing since they were six or so.

Many people can improve, and can especially make it look AS IF they had better turnout, if they work consistently and intelligently on it.

-d-

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Latte_and_laptop

Reading this thread is encouraging. DD is 12.5 and has very tight hips. Most of her dancing friends have that natural turnout and can sit in frog flat. DD struggles to get her feet 6 inches from the floor in frog with her heels facing.

 

Is there any exercise that can help loosen hips and force her to stop gripping?

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First of all, the "frog" position is not really a good indicator of turn out which is usable when the dancer is standing up straight. :thumbsup:

How is her turnout when she is standing?

Has it been checked in any other way besides the "frog"?

 

Anyway, although not being able to see your daughter, probably she could be helped at least somewhat by cosistent stretching of the muscles all along the outer sides of the hips and buttocks, as when one "grips" to hold what one has in turn-out, these can get overused and often do better when stretched.

 

Then of course she can continue to stretch the inner-thigh muscles, too, as these are also used quite a bit and tight muscles here can hinder what turnout a person has.

 

Perhaps she also has tight hip flexor muscles. (I cannot see her.. just guessing here, from my own experience with young dancers who were somewhat tighter around the hips) These are the muscles which will lift the leg up in front; if they are tight, the dancer may have a slight "bend" at the groin (not a straight line from illiac-crest to upper thigh) and may go into a sway-back, too. This can also hinder proper use of turnout.

 

There is also still plenty of hope, as your daughter has probably not finished growing yet. :shrug:

What do her teaches say?

-d-

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Latte_and_laptop

Diane,

 

Sorry I missed your response. I'm still getting a handle on how to post and what "My Assistant" does and all that, so I didn't realize anyone had responded until just now!

 

DD's studio tells me that turnout has been and still is an issue. She is improving a little, but she doesn't have that easy flexibility that many her age do. She has to work at it. Actually, she tells me that her front extension is the best, but she hears her hip popping and it hurts when she tries to raise her leg above 90 to the left side. Her Pilates teacher says that the popping normal, but not the pain. The right side has no popping, but it is still difficult. :)

 

We've never had her evaluated for turnout potential. I don't know who would do that....

 

Thanks for the insight; even with no picture, it gives me a sense of how everything connects. :blink:

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That is good that your daughter has pilates, and surely the teacher there can help her well.

 

It does seem to me - at this admitedly huge distance - that she may need to stretch out the front of the hips, as well as the other "normal" things one stretches daily as a dancer.

 

No, pain with popping is not really the way things should be. That also indicates some slight imbalance of flexibility, but it can be worked on. As I mentioned earlier, your daughter is still in the process of growing; much can change! Don't let her lose heart. She can still do a lot. Patience and diligence are needed sometimes more than others. (I have two DDs.... been there; patience is not always easy, is it?)

-d-

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The best way I know of to carefully stretch the front of the hips is a passive stretch which requires that the person lie on a bed, table or at the top of a flight of stairs. They hold one knee up to their chest and manouver themselves so that their tail-bone is right at the edge of the table/bed/top-of-stairs. Now the leg they are not holding should be hanging down. Just let it hang. Breathe normally and let the leg hang. Do not turn it out or anything; just let the muscles stretch out slowly and carefully. Do this for a few minutes - two to three. Then one could stretch out the opposite muscles - at the back of the legs - for good measure.

Hope that was clear and brings some help. :-)

-d-

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danceintheblood

I asked dd if she wanted to join up when she turned 13, but she's not that interested in talking about it and more interested in just dancing!

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Latte_and_laptop

Right! What was I thinking :sleeping: We moms are the only ones who want to analyze ballet to death; our kids just want to DO it! :D Still, it helps to know why certain things aren't working and how to improve them. Maybe once our kids realize it's all connected (the head and the body), BTFD will be their favorite place to kick back!

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  • 2 years later...

I know that I may be resurrecting an old thread, but have recently been reading threads on other forums regarding the "frog". DD has recently turned 13 so I now need to post here. Hello everyone!

 

My DD does both the frog and the butterfly all the time. Is the frog still dangerous for the dancer if there is no stretch? When DD does the frog or the butterfly, there is no part of her hips, stomach (or back), legs, knees, ankles, feet that are off the floor. She says she does not feel a stretch- but does it anyway because all her friends do it. Should she be feeling some sort of stretch? If so, is there some other stretch she should try?

 

Thanks!!!

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Mel Johnson

If there is no stretch, why do it at all? The butterfly is safer, and it's done sitting up. You will almost always get a stretch from it that way.

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