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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Turn out


deloris

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Okay, I have a situation that I was needing some guidance in with my dd. She has a beautiful turnout in first positions from the knees down, but her leg is not turned out all the way from her hips. Her ballet teacher explained to her that for her condition (which she has not seen very often) she can't just place her feet that she literally has to turn out from her hips more and concentrate on that. I had never realized this before or just wonder if this is something that has just occurred as she is growing. It ironic because I see what the teacher means because her turnout looks perfectly fine until you look at her thigh area. She is on the thin side still and is only 12 (in Dec.). Has anyone else seen this before or has experience in this area? I was just wondering if there were any exercises or stretches she should be doing to help her correct her turnout. It is puzzling to me to say the least!

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Is this a new teacher? If not, why has no one noticed before that she is not turnning out from her hips? Evidently she has been allowed to turn out her feet and not taught how to use her rotation from the hip. This is not unusual, it's just wrong. It's not a condition, it's incorrect training. She needs to be shown which exercises to work on and exactly how to do them. It would not be at all a good idea to try and learn them from here. Besides that, all of the barre exercises are designed to work on the rotation, as well as the feet and the extension and everything else one needs to learn to create a dancer's instrument. :yucky:

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Well I always recommend a turnout disc (or twist disc as they're called in fitness). You do basic turnout exercises on them and they really help you to feel the muscles that you need to use. If you use it for a few minutes each day I'm sure it teaches muscle memory and helps you when you're dancing.

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But again, the child has to basically understand first HOW to turnout, and it sounds to me like this has not happened. CDR, do you work with students of 11-12 on this kind of thing? I have never worked with one, so I don't know, but I think I would not want to tell a student to use it without teacher supervision, especially a student who has not learned how to work rotation from the hips???

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I use it from about 10+ but they are shown exactly how to use it in class, those who really need the benefit of it and are keen will go and buy one and work on it at home.

 

I find that you don't actually need to understand the concept of turnout to begin using it. I have students stand on it parallel with a hand on the wall for balance (but not gripping a barre that they could pull). They then lift one leg to a low parallel retire and then turn it out while keeping the disc completely still. Then they have to keep the turned out leg where it is and turn out the supporting leg by smoothly rotating the disc. It's quite tricky the first couple of times but you literally have to figure out which muscles will turn out the leg and you can feel them working, so it really teaches the muscles. That's the most basic exercise we do, it works really well for things like grand ronds de jambe en l'air and other exercises but they obviously have to work up to that (and wouldn't be doing that at 10 anyway).

 

There is obviously an initial problem if she hasn't been taught how to turn out in the first place but that's what I do with my students a couple of times a year just to remind them which muscles to use, help them to develop their turnout and check they are doing it properly.

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I understand that, and it sounds just fine, CDR. I know that when you use it, you teach your students how to use it. The problem with this particular situation is that I think there is an initial problem with the training.

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Yes I wouldn't just give it to a student and say 'go practice your turnout'! :yucky:

 

There is certainly a training problem if she's turning out from the knee and it needs addressing now before she ends up injured! Especially before teenage years as growth spurts seem to make the whole body weaker and less able to cope generally.

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Apparently are some discussion with my daughter, she does this intermittedly as from poor technical training from our old school. Anyway, she has been told to think about turning out from her hip not her knees. After some time this should become a habit as she gets older. I do hope that this is corrected before she hits her growth spurt. I will be making sure that we discuss it on a routine basis. Thank you for your suggestions.

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Might I suggest that being told 'to think' about turning out from her hip just might not be sufficient for your DD to 'get it'? Some kids really, really have to be shown which muscles they are suppose to use. (Now exactly sure how one does that best, you'd have to check with our fabulous teachers).

 

I say that because my DD has been in very good ballet classes since she was a pipsqueak. She has had very good technical training all along and is now 20 years old. She's understood from the very beginning that turnout comes from the hip; she's had very hands-on teachers over the year, and various teachers over the years. She's always thought she just didn't have 'much turnout'. This past year, she FINALLY 'found' her turnout muscles (via gyrotonic--something similar to pilates, but that's not the point) and realized she actually has quite a bit of turnout.

 

I'm supposing she is a bit odd in not 'finding' those muscles sooner given all the wonderful teachers she's had over the years and the type of attention and skill level she'd enjoyed all those years. But my point for you is perhaps your DD will need to be very vigil and her teacher very hands-on(such as floor barre exercises with her teacher actually manipulating the leg's rotation---when she's old enough to mentally focus and recognize the muscle working) in order to make sure she really, truly finds those specific muscles. It would be much more productive for her to find them now than at age 20. :)

 

It may take more than just 'thinking' about turning out from the hip, certainly until she truly understands the movement needed.

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