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Ballet Talk for Dancers

relationship between turnout to straddle splits and butterfly


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I found some wonderful threads on turnout when I did a search so I'm starting to grasp the difference between rotation and passive flexibility (I think).


But I'm still a bit mystified by the difference between 2 of my dancers' 'natural range'. One can do straddle splits but not correctly (knees forward rather than upwards) but cannot do butterfly (inverted or otherwise). So far as I know she's copying inverted butterfly from friends not her teacher and I don't like her to do this because it hurts her knees (I'm worried about knee injury ... am I worrying about nothing?).


Whereas another of mine does inverted butterfly very easily but isn't even close to straddle splits.


I'm curious about why some children can naturally do one but not the other? Do these stretches really work on different muscles (they look the same to me observing - just one has bent legs and one has straight)??


And of course the grand question: Is any of this at all predictive about who might have an easier time developing the better turn out (assuming they both worked eqally hard, and developed identical strength and control of their rotation).

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How old are your daughters? How long have they been studying ballet/dance?


Genetics are the determining factor in flexibility, hip construction etc. While stretching can help and is helpful in many ways, training the rotation of the legs in the hip sockets are key. There are many professional dancers who are not as turned out as others but because of their determination and training are able to work in the professional world of ballet. Splits and straddles have little to do with good ballet. There is no crystal ball in ballet.


Just a suggestion, this question may be more fully answered in H & N or in Cross Talk. This forum is a bit limited in scope. Perhaps you might consider moving it to another forum?

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Yes, genetics and the basic structure of the body are key factors in natural rotation, clueless. And knowing the age of your children always helps us in answering the questions.


One of the problems with trying to assess rotation from exercises or stretches on the floor, is just that....they are on the floor! No gravity. So, they are not always an accurate indication of how much rotation is there. And I have never heard of an "inverted butterfly", however, if it is what I think it must be, WHY are they doing that at all??? That is not an exercise given in ballet for stretching or working on rotation, and it is not, IMO, safe at all. No wonder it hurts her knees. :D


Another factor is that the hip flexibility and the rotational ability are separate factors. Some dancers can do splits or lift their legs high because they have the flexibility in their hips and the stretch in their hamstrings. That does not necessarily mean that they can rotate the positions. Some dancers have great rotation but not a lot of extension, and some ( a minority I'm afraid) have a great deal of both.


As vrs said, a great deal can be accomplished through excellent training and a lot of hard work by the student. But if they are very young, it may be too soon to start even trying to assess, especially if they have not had a lot of training yet.

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