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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Is Turnout Harder for Boys?


Petrovafossil

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Petrovafossil

My daughter and her younger brother both take dance, so I hope I'm ok to post here. I just wondered do boys initially struggle with turnout more than girls? I feel like the entire notion/movement comes much less naturally to my son even though he has a very similar body type to his sister. It made me wonder what the differences are, because most of knowledge, to date, is based on the female model.

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JacquelineInAus

Anecdotally speaking (I am a parent, not a teacher) my son has great turnout - he just happens to have that kind of body. He's 8, and from what I can tell boys/girls bodies don't differ all that much until they start going through puberty.

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Victoria Leigh

There are some male dancers with wonderful rotation, but the male structure, in general, has narrower hips and broader shoulders. The broader shoulders are a positive, but the narrow hips provide less room for some of the some of the tendons and ligaments, which cause less ability to rotate as much. Female hip joints are usually set a bit wider apart than male, just due to basic structure. There are always exceptions to this, however, and you will see some females and males with very narrow hips who still manage to have very good rotation.

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While is certainly differs from individual to individual, the teacher consensus (as far as I've heard!!) seems to be that boys struggle more with flexibility than girls. I don't know if that translates to turn-out though. I'd be curious what the teachers here have seen.

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Victoria Leigh

We were posting at the same time, slhogan. What I have seen and learned is just above your post. :)

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Along those same lines... Ms. Victoria, when my son last year (close to 14 years old) came home from summer intensive, he told me that his male technique teacher spent some time analyzing my son's hips and rotation and told my son that he probably reached his maximum turn-out ability because the anatomy of hips were... well, my son couldn't remember exactly what the teacher told him. He only remembers that the teacher (a professional company teacher) said his hip anatomy would not let allow for a full 180 degrees.

 

According to my son, the teacher told him not to worry about it-- that lack of full turn-out isn't a career killer as long as he was strong in everything else. My son has decent turn-out-- certainly not 180 degrees but not the worst in the class either... about average, I suppose.

 

Is maximum turn-out potential something a teacher can determine in this way?

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Victoria Leigh

Yes, generally we can, once they have passed puberty. Things can still improve in terms of usage, but 180 may not be possible, and I agree with your son's teacher that it is not a career killer. A dancer will always keep working for improvement though!

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Petrovafossil

Thank you Ms. Leigh, slhogan and Jacqueline for responding. It makes sense to me that the basic structure of the male hip would be less friendly to turnout, though obviously there are men who have great turnout. It does seem to me that the boys in my son's class struggle more with flexibility than the girls in daughter's class did. It's interesting to see the differences.

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The good news is, since boys often hit puberty later than girls, they often have more time to increase turn-out and flexibility.

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