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!ava! ily

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Ok, I know there are probably thousands of posts on this already, but how can I help my back turn out? My front and side turn out is great, but I just need a bit more help on my back. Are there any exercises or stretches I can do at home to help this?

Thank you so much! -Ava

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Hello !ava! ily. Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers. :wub:


The rotation of the working leg in direction back is indeed more complicated then in directions front and side, partly due to the fact that you cannot see it without lookling in the mirror. Working it correctly requires a big awareness of your muscles and how they work. Actually rotating the leg in the hip socket is not so complicated but actually dancing that way, showing good classical line, moving the leg outward and inward, can be a challenge.


Recognize that developing rotation of the legs is a process. Stand facing a barre that will allow you to have a side view of yourself/profile. First learn about how your body works. Try to understand what it actually means to pull up and turn out the legs. Feel like you are opening the front of your legs and joining them in the back of the legs, like assembling seamed tights together. Be very careful not to sit and make changes to the placement of your body.


Next, beginning in 1st position, practice freely moving your lengthened, stretched leg to the back with a flexed foot, being careful not to turn your hips, waistline and shoulder in the direction of the working leg. Keep the front of your heel facing down to the floor and your working knee facing to the mirror as you move your leg from 1st position to about 25/45 degrees in the air. Be sure to strongly lift your abdominal muscles upward and inward so as not to tilt your hip bones downward. Your hip bone/pelvis at this point must remain facing flat to the front.


After you have practiced this for a while, your next stage of development is trying the same thing with a pointed foot. With your weight placed on the whole foot, begin moving the leg in direction back with your pinky toe, continuing to maintain the shape of the leg as it was in 1st position. Freely move the foot along the floor so as to arrive with the foot and leg fully stretched behind you so that only the tip of your big toe is touching the floor (battement tendu) Legs must be strongly lengthened while the body and legs work in opposition to the direction of the movement. Return to 1st position beginning with the heel of the working leg and assembling the knees together.


I know it sounds like you have done these things all before, but you need to honestly re-examine what it is you are actually doing before you will be able to make the necessary changes to move forward with improving the rotation of the legs in movements to direction back.


Perhaps you may ask your teacher for a bit of extra help before or after class or even better, ask for an appointment so that there is no rush. Teachers are often impressed by students who think out of class about what it is they are actually doing. Repetition and patience is required by all! :D

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Hi, Ava, and welcome to the Young Dancers' Forums at Ballet Talk for Dancers. :wub:


It would help us to know what you are doing when you experience a loss of turnout. Is it in fourth position? Fifth position? Extended positions like arabesque? Very often, students try to keep their hips absolutely squared while doing arabesques. This won't allow much extension at all. In order to get a decent arabesque, first you have to lift out of the supporting hip, then open the working hip very slightly in order to get the leg up into the air. Is this the problem you're having?

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Dear Major Mel,

My daughter thanks you for this information. She never realized that she might be taking the goal of always being squared off a bit too far.


Happy New Year from both of us!

Edited by seeker
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Ah, OK, now I see - usually we don't have parents here, as it is intended for the students and the teacher/moderators to converse about classroom and stage technical matters, but it's New Year's Day, so whatthehey! :innocent: If she posts for herself, she'll build her post count up and become a full member, with additional bells and whistles on the software. Anyway, glad the advice helped!

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