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Conflicting advice regarding turnout


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Dd receives conflicting advice from two of her teachers regarding turnout. She is very flexible and has flat straddles (knees up), frogs & butterflies. Always has had those. She struggles to please her "old school" teacher who asks that her heel not be visible in the mirror above her foot in tendue to the back or below her foot in tendue front. She asked another of her teachers about this who said that nobody is able to achieve that without perfect rotation. This teacher had her lie on her back, knees bent and allowed her knees to drop to the side to measure her rotation which he said was less than perfect. The "old school" teacher has always maintained that because she can easily do the straddles, frogs & butterflies, her rotation IS perfect & she should be able to achieve this turn out in tendue. By the way... DD says that her turnout is always much better when her leg is in the air than on the ground. ie. she is able to achieve the heel on top/bottom in developpe, just not tendue. Can anyone offer advice?

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It has been my experience with students and myself (I have a considerable amount of leg rotation in the hip socket/flat turned out), with the working leg pointed to the floor and the leg reaching in the line of side opposite the supporting heel, a 180 degree line, it is not possible to turn the heel facing upward more than facing straight front without sitting in the hips creating a very undesirable line to do more than just that in ballet. One cannot turn nor jump using such a position. When the leg is in the air, while I do not use that line of the leg, a bit more rotation is possible if that is what a particular teacher/choreographer would like to see. Your daughter is correct in her realization regarding the way her leg works in her hip socket.

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I'm afraid that I disagree with both of her teachers, ceecee. The stretches on the floor, while an indication of flexibility and rotation, are not dealing with gravity. So, because one can do them does not necessarily mean that their rotation is perfect. And the one who says nobody is able to achieve the line asked for without perfect rotation would reject about ninety odd percentage of the professional dancers in the world if he/she was auditioning for perfect bodies to train.


While not everyone is able to achieve the rotated line, many can and do. Achieving that line is relative to the degree of natural rotation and the training in how to achieve it. Working for the described tendu devant and derrière is not "old school", it is the desired line and can be achieved without perfect rotation.

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Thank you vrsfanatic & Victoria Leigh for your responses. I am not sure I understand what you are saying vrsfanatic. Are you saying that in your experience it is not possible to have the heel visible above the foot, viewed from directly side, in tendu devant, without displacing something else?


Victoria Leigh, DD is able to achieve a rotated line, but the question, I guess, is what degree of rotation is acceptable? I did a google image search for photos of tendu shot directly from the side & although they are hard to find, I found this page. If you scroll down you can see the tendu devant and derriere are rotated, but not as much DD's teacher is asking for. You can see her heel. Is this an acceptable amount of rotation? DD is able to achieve a rotation similar to the girl in these photos, but is not able to turn out further without cheating in her hips.



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Wow, sorry to confuse, I misread and did not understand that you were discussing front and back. Without a doubt the heel is not visible when the working leg is front and back ideally!

Edited by vrsfanatic
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