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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Tendues to the side...


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Recently a teacher contraticted what my therapist told me to do in tendues to the side and I did a little research and found a third version so I thought I would ask here and see what your opinions are and probably find the right way to do it.


I do not have perfect turnout and I was told by my doc not to use my full range of turnout at the moment (inflammation in my knee). The next check with the doc is in august so that I just use about 90-100° turnout (normally I would turnout to 110-120°).


1) Well, my therapist told me that when I tendue to the side, I should imagine a line from one bit toe to the other one (when standing in first) and my leg should not cross that line (my toes should be on the line, I shouldn't have my leg more to the front). I hope this explanations makes sense. She placed me in front of a straight step of a stair in first position so that my big toes were touching the step. then I had to tendues sideways and keep rotation and alignment.


2) Now the teacher told me to tendue into the direction my big toe points, which means when I stand with 90° turnout, my foot would go out in a straight line from there, which is too much to the front in my eyes. However, it is much easier to me to hold rotation and my alignment when I do this version than in the one above.


3) Then I came across a video where the teacher (Dimitri Roudnev) said that the leg should go directly to the side and that it would not matter if it would be turned out perfectly.


I tried all the three and I came to the conclusion


1) I can really feel my turnout muscles working and I have to be very carefull not to loose my alignment in the rest of the body


2) I can keep the alignment very well and I can rotate the leg nicely but I don't feel the right muscles working as much as in 1)


3) Alignment is hard to keep but possible but my leg is not fully rotated. But as said in the video, leg perfectly to the side would be better than fully rotated. Here I can really feel how my turnout muscles work.


What would you recommend me to do? Usually I listen to my therapist and only to her but in this case I am really not sure what to do.


So my question just in general: For people who have not got perfect turnout, where would the leg be when one tendues to the side?

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Since you are having knee issues, please listen to your medical professionals. They have hands on experience with you. In cyberspace you will receive many ideas, including the whys and the hows, but if your therapist and MD are telling you to do it one way, then by all means do it that way until you are cleared to pursue something a bit differently. You might also speak with your teacher regarding your therapist's recommendation for direction side.


That being said, all three recommendations for tendu in direction side are commonly used in various schools of ballet. Please remember side is a direction, it does not mean turn out. The usage of turn out is a separate issue.


I am going to run a search on this subject. I know there are many discussions in the Teacher's, YDs and Adult forums.

Edited by vrsfanatic
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I tend to work according to your first version. I like my second positions open, but not so much that I can't hold the turn-out.

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Odd to me, but it is actually difficult to find this particular discussion. The issue is discussed in many threads but nothing specifically addressing battement tendu side direction and turn out of the leg. sorry, I am not able to provide a link. :(

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Thank you for your replies.


I adressed it to my teacher a while ago and she replied that her version would even be safer (and she is really careful about knee, hips and turnout in general) than the one from my therapist but in my eyes, it is just too much to the front and feels odd and looks odd (other than I learnt in the other studio I go to since kindergarden).


But I guess that 1) (from my therapist) is so far safe for my knees and my hips. I used to have hip problems but that's perfect now and it came from a couple of stretches I had to stop doing and from modern class (more about turning in and crossing the leg in front of the body than turning out).


Let my clarify: vrsfanatic, you said that all of the three I mentioned can be correct, depending on school, body of the students and indivdual goals, right?


Thank you for the search. I was looking for that subject too but couldn't find anything either.

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That being said, all three recommendations for tendu in direction side are commonly used in various schools of ballet. Please remember side is a direction, it does not mean turn out. The usage of turn out is a separate issue.
with my fixed typo :(


I do not believe I used the word correct but rather "used in various schools". Each idea of direction side is correct in the schools of thought that teach the direction in that manner. I think you will find that many respected teachers use all three ideas of direction side for reasons they find valid. I have not seen the Roudnev piece however I do know Vaganova schooling quite well. Under the principles of Vaganova, side is a direction, big toes draws a straight line opposite the heel of the supporting leg from both 1st and 5th position. The legs turn out in the hip sockets and the lower leg in all directions and in all methods of ballet.

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If one does not have perfect turnout, though, wouldn't it contribute to rising hip and alignment issues? I'm having similar problems. I was raised in most schools where you draw the line from the tip of the big toe of the supporting leg and that is where you "hit" in tendus, degages and grand battements. It is forward of the body if you don't have perfect turnout. Having used Claude's first version most of my dancing days, I do not have any knee issues in my old age.


This past weekend, a teacher whom I'd not had before spent quite a bit of time working with me on my alignment when my leg is raised, and kept moving my leg forward of the body (more than what I was used to) to correct my hip alignment. I was "crunching" on the raised leg side to try to keep the body straight, with the hip rising. When she corrected it, my hip went down and I could more easily keep the turnout.


The view from the front makes it look as if the leg is fully to the side, but the view from the side shows otherwise.


I'm only concerned about whether it's worth throwing off the alignment to attain a perfect side tendu, if one doesn't have perfect turnout?

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I work primarily with students who are aged 11-14 and taking classes three times a week. I actually use the method described by your therapist. When they do that tendu to the side with the big toe across from the big toe, I have them lower the heel to second. Then we discuss that the two feet are in the same plane/s(meaning one foot is not in a plane forward or behind the other foot) in space which is something that most of them are or have studied in school. I try and use things that they can relate to their "real" world, especially those abstract concepts at school which they think serve no purpose other than to confuse them on standardized tests :(

Edited by tangerinetwist
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Please do as your therapist and teacher have been telling you. I'm with vrsfanatic 100%.


Just because you can get your body into a position does not mean that you are engaging the muscles necessary to be able to correctly control it, and eventually, as you have found, your body rebelled. At least for now, work on engaging those inner thigh muscles as you work from that more modified position. Work on making the muscles from under your heels all the way up your legs into your inner things engage.


By the time you have learned how to hold your rotation in this manner, you will likely strengthen everything that you need to be able to slowly, s l o w l y, did I say, "SLOWLY", work back to having more of a rotated positional stance, but, it will be used correctly . Think of this as medicine- a long course of medicine.


You should be able to easily control your alignment and balance, and feel the muscles engaging very soon.


Please also remember that sometimes videos are working on a temporary concept that cannot be fully understood just from watching that one snippet. A person would need to have had all the years of pedagogy training to completely comprehend what the video is reminding them of. Just as one can't learn the alphabet by starting in the middle, nor can one learn ballet from videos. :(

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If you want to, I can give you the link of the video (I think I would find it again). Tangerinetwist, what you said about second position makes sense to me. So I will tell my teacher that I will take my leg more to the side as she asked me to do. I guess I did not feel the muscles working when I took it so much forward because it is not my full turnout. I just tried the first-position-on-step-thing with my normal turnout and there I am coming closer to drawing a line with my foot into the direction my big toe pointes to.


But let me add another question: What about fifth position? I have not talked with my therapist about that one. For me it would be more third position (not allowed to make fifth at all, I was told to place my heel to the joint of the big toe instead of heel to toe). Is it right that again the big toe of the supporting leg defines where the leg goes?

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For battement tendu to the side from 5th position-- as far as I know, the working foot slides from 5th to 1st and then the tendu movement continues from there.

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Are you sure that this is right if you do not stand heel to toe? I mean, with my poor turnout I would have to create an angle in the middle of the movment to be able to come through first.


Oh wait, do you mean when the you tendue the back leg out?

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It was my understanding that this applied whether the leg was coming from 5th front or back, but perhaps when one has very limited turnout that is not the case...perhaps another teacher could clarify.

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Hans, for a student with limited turnout, I would think of it this way -- the foot might not go to first exactly, but moves out sideways in a way such that if the student did have perfect turnout, they would hit fifth.


There main important issue here: moving SIDEWAYS. This might not be exact side depending on your method, but if you keep you toe on the same horizontal plane (which is the goal of Hans' method, in some ways), your leg is moving out to the side.



If you move your leg out so that you are following the trajectory of your heel to toe -- you end up in a position between devant and seconde. It may look okay from the front, but put that in ecarte? Heaven forbid doing that in a high ecarte devant (holy unfortunate view for the audience!). Too often I feel like students move their leg forward to get it higher, losing alignment, turn out (in within the socket -- i.e., heel dropping backwards), and losing the all-important geometry in ballet.


Directionality is important also because of... DIRECTION! :lol: If you move that leg forward, for example, what happens in petite allegro? Can you imagine the movement trajectory of glissades, for example? And what if there are a corps of people, needing to move the same way or pass others?


Obviously, those who are injured or who have physiological issues should follow their doctor's advice. But I'm really against sacrificing line any way in class, unless it's a adv-intermediate or advanced class that occasionally incorporates different stylistic/performance aspects... (and I'm not close to being as much of a purist as Hans is!)


Here's one interesting old thread -- especially from post 20 down. There's another thread, I believe on grand battement seconde? I can't find it.



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But, Ami, what if by moving directly side, the student ends up sacrificing alignment? I mean in my case, the hip goes up and really creates an uglier picture with the leg partially turned in and the hip higher than it should be -even when the leg is low but directly side?


A pretty body can make the leg look just as pretty if it's turned out, in my view. Directly side isn't possible for those with poorer turnout, unless we sacrifice the beauty of the body, I believe.

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