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Ballet Talk for Dancers

"Turned out" retire...


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I've always heard that to turn your retire you should press your knee back so that it goes as far to you side as possible, however I've recently thought up a conundrum with this and I'm not sure what it means...try this little exercise:


1) tondu front, turn it in, then turn it out

2) tondu side, turn it in, the turn it out

3) now make your best retire with your leg, and using the same muscles that you did when your leg was tondu side, turn it in.


If you did it the way I did, your thigh will still be to your side, but the lower leg (below the knee) should now be at or around a parallel angle to the floor, sort of like a "dog at a fire hydrant" pose. So then is the concept of "press retire to the side to turn it out" a misnomer since that action doesn't primarily utilize the actual turnout muscles? Tomorrow I'm going to see how this different way of thinking about turning out my retire affects my balance and pirouettes...

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I'm confused--I tried this and felt no difference in the muscles being used while turned out. Allowing the foot to disconnect from the supporting leg while rotating the working leg in is not correct technique, so naturally while turning in, one would use different muscles, but the ones used to turn out should be the same, as far as I can tell.


I don't really like the image of "pressing" the knee to the side as I think it contributes to pressing the working foot against the supporting leg in order to turn out, so instead I use the image of lifting the thigh up and to the side, while of course keeping the hips correctly placed and the working toes lightly touching the supporting leg. Petit battement done while moving the foot from cou de pied to retiré position helps with this, as the working thigh must be well lifted and turned out or it will move back and forth during the petit battement.

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Chronus24 you are thinking of ways to help you to understand how to turn your legs out in retire. This is a good thing! :thumbsup: Your idea sounds as if it might work for you, but as Hans has said, pressing is not the best way to describe how to open your leg in direction side in retire. There is a rotation of the lower leg in addition to the rotation of the upper leg that does help to turn the working leg out more. The pressing of the knee without the lift and rotation of the lower could encourage sickling. Alhough I do understand what you are thinking, without the lifting and opening, the pressing idea might be more detrimental than helpful, if one did not know what they were doing.

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