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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Problem with uneven turnout


Kailyn

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I have recently realized that my turnout is uneven. Obviously uneven. Actually, I have realized this for quite a while now since I can feel it the second we change sides at the barre. I have tried to work with it, but I am at a loss now. Are there any exercises I can do so that I can even up? I have near perfect turnout on my left leg but it is not nearly as good on my right leg and I'd like to get it about the same. I'm worried that this may have something to do with my left side being my stronger side and that I haven't practiced holding my turnout on the right as much, but still, what exercises can I do? I'm not sure what exercises exist for strengthening the turnout muscles aside from just doing ballet and concentrating on it at the barre more.

 

I know there are turnout DVD's too. Are they worth the investment? I have next month off and I would like to work on a lot of things. I know I need to work on holding my turnout as a whole too and I want it to improve all around.

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Victoria Leigh

Kailyn, I don't know anything about the turnout DVD's, but I do feel that there really is nothing better than working your barre exercises, and especially rond de jambes, for developping and learning to work your rotation. Do extra on your weaker side to try and even out the difference. Everyone has some difference in almost everything, including turnout. This is normal. You just always have to work harder on the bad side. :sweating:

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Should I be doing them with my right leg as the working leg or standing leg? I mainly notice it when I'm using it as my supporting/standing leg. If I can give you a visual, when I turn out in first and then start working, my body starts to turn inwards, only on that side, I'd like to strengthen those muscles that will stop me from doing that.

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All bodies are uneven, for the simple reason that when you have two of something, one will be more than the other.

 

As you gain awareness of your body, you begin to notice these unevennesses more. The solution to make two things equal when they're not equal is to make one more or the other less. Since improving turnout is harder than not using your turnout to the fullest, the solution is to tone down the turnout on your "good side" a bit so it matches your "bad side". That is the standard answer you will find in the ballet books. Of course, this isn't usually necessary, except for when you're in a symmetrical position. But when you're in any other position (standing on one leg), then both sides should be working as hard as they can.

 

Of course there are ways to improve turnout --- not just the amount you have when standing still but (more importantly) the degree to which you use what you have in every position and movement. However, as you learn and practice these things, you will apply them to both sides. And most likely, your "good side" will improve along with your "bad side", so it will always be better/more turned out/more pliable on one side than the other. C'est la vie.

 

Believe me, if I could magically make my left leg turn out as well as my right, that would be great. But as it is, my left side today turns out as well as my right did a few years ago. And yes, I do work harder on my bad side. Problem is, it's less responsive, so I have to work harder just to get the same amount of improvement.

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