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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Turnout


Magdalena

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I have troubles with my turnout in just about anything to the back. (Tendus, degages,frappes, grande battements, arabesque, ect.) It kind of varies from day to day; sometimes it's not too bad, and other times, it seems like I'm barely turning out at all. The past few days,when I've been practising at home, my turnout seems especially poor. I have gotten corrections on this in class many times and normally can only fix it by opening up my hips quite a bit. What can I do to improve this?

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Magdalena, the hips will have to open somewhat in order to have any rotation in back extensions. They do not lift, but they do open. If you are trying to stay totally square, forget it. You will not ever have any rotation. That square theory goes way, way back to early training when turnout was not very important! :yes:

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Oh, okay, thank you. How do I know if I'm opening my hip too much? Also, I think I do lift my hip a little, especially in attitude. How can I improve that?

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If you think you are lifting it, don't lift it. :wink: Seriously, there is no other answer to that. Open your hip only as much as needed to properly rotate the leg and get it to 90º or more. Use the mirror. Best way is to stand by the mirror, face the barre (if no barre there, create one with a chair), and work on the leg that is closest to the mirror. Then repeat with the other leg, but move somehow so that your other leg is closest to the mirror. Be sure that you are moving your weight forward enough to be able to get the leg up. If you try to remain where you start, if won't go up without a great deal of strain, dropping of the lower back, and a lack of balance.

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Thank you for your helpful advice. I will continue working on it as soon as I'm done on the computer.

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Remember, you may LIFT out of the supporting hip, but you may OPEN the working hip when doing things derriere!

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's interesting to read that the hips are supposed to open...actually I've never been told this! I've always had a bit of a problem with how stiff it feels doing things to the back because I do stay 100% square. My turn out this way has never seemed to be much of an issue, but it's always felt "off"., sort of like a horse kicking its leg back or something...haha. I will try to open just a little bit during my next class to see if it feels better, though.

 

Is there progress to be made as far as..."eventually you should be able to do a full turn out while your hips are fully square and have it feel natural", or is that just never going to happen? Should I just work on finding a way to open the hips that isn't too distracting to the sight?

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While there is always progress to be made, it is highly unlikely that the hips can be perfectly square and allow the back leg extention to both rotate and rise to 90º or above. There is a slight problem of a large muscle in the way called the gluteus maximus! :yes:

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  • 1 month later...
Guest extensionprincess

I also have lots of problem with turn out ( good extensions but poor turn out). I have tried lying in the frog position but my feet do not touch the floor. Also my hips click sometimes does not hurt so maybe I have a tight iliopsoas band or something. I am 15 almost 16 and I am worried. I have good musicality, extension :) and strength...just turn out. What can I do?

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Remember, proper and safe turnout only comes from the rotation of the thighbone in the hipjoint. Over the last few decades, it has become obvious to me and many other teachers that the "frog" is really quite dangerous, as the exercise places lateral stresses on the kneejoint from the feet being in the air. That joint doesn't handle sideways force easily! Better you do the "butterfly", where the feet are on the ground, soles together and your knees are bent. That's a much safer stretch. And while we're at it, anytime your feet are turned out, that turnout has to come from the hip, or you're in danger. Popping hip syndrome without pain is usually innocuous. If it persists, you may want to talk to your doc about it.

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  • 1 month later...

Is there such a thing as dancers getting surgery to increase turnout? I think I posted in the wrong spot. Can I move this to cross talk or parents forum?

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No, you can't move this post, but you can start a new topic in the appropriate parents forum. However, the answer to the question about surgery is no. Please do not respond here. If you want to continue then please start a new topic.

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I've been getting corrections for turnout more recently. My turnout stretching isn't all that bad actually, but I have trouble holding onto it for things such as jumps and center work.

 

Do you have any suggestions for strengthening things for turn out? I keep trying to think about it but it evaporates when I hit center :) .

 

Particularly in jumps such as double tour en l'airs.

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That's the problem with building flexibility without building strength at the same time. Without the strength to hold it when you get to center, all the flexibility in the world isn't going to do much good.

 

In tours en l'air, the position in the air is a lot like sous-sus. If you can retain rotation when you do that, you should be well on the way to retaining it in tours. The really great part of barre which builds strength even more than it builds flexibility is in rond de jambe à terre, and later on in grand rond de jambe en l'air. The working leg and the supporting leg work against one another to create strength in turnout. It works all the way up to the hip level, but it's not a quick fix. Indeed, very very few things in ballet are quick fixes. It will take at least weeks for you to notice any improvement at all after you start really working the ronds de jambe for strength. Months, and anybody will be able to see it.

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