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Ballet Talk for Dancers
ascballerina

Flexing feet to find turnout and placement

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ascballerina

It's never enough for me to know that something works...I have to know why.

 

So while I was at my SI, one of the teachers was going around fixing everyone's arabesques, and she told us all to flex our feet in the extension. I saw it on everyone else, and felt it on me--instantly, turnout increased, hip placement was better, and those of us who were undercrossed ( :whistling:) fixed that a bit (apparently not quite enough, though...she still moved my leg further). Then she told us to pointe our feet and keep that. Throughout the week, she encouraged us to find that placement before an exercise, and it actually did help.

 

So why does that work? What is it about flexing that instantly makes so many things click into place?

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Clara 76

When your foot is flexed it elongates and activates the muscles of the inner leg, but only once you have a basic comprehension of turnout. Giving an exercise with a flexed foot to a 7 year old will not have the same effect as giving it to a more advanced dancer. The flexion of the foot also enables us to suddenly feel if our legs are actually straight or not!

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ascballerina

Thanks, Clara, I'm happy now!

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Clara 76

You are so funny!!! I LOVE that you analyze movement. It makes for a better dancer, and maybe some day, an excellent teacher!

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Dancergirlmelody

Adding onto this question, so is that why when my teachers have us do the old "8, 4, 2, 1" degage combination she has us do it once pointed and then once flexed? Why wouldn't we do it flexed first and then try to find it again pointed?

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Clara 76

Dancergirlmelody-

I cannot answer for your teacher, but I can say that when I give that combination in my adult class, I like to do feet pointed first just to get the inner thighs to wake up a bit before I give the flexed foot. I have found that getting the inner thighs activated prior to flexing gives my dancers a clearer feel of rotation when they do flex. I usually give that combination twice in a row as well: First time, slow tempo pointed as above, then 8 flexed, 8 flexed, 8 flexed, 8 flexed. Second time, fast and 4 steps away from the barre, facing the center of the room, arms up and out of the way!

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ascballerina

When the teacher told us to flex our feet, she always made us pointe first and then flex, she didn't want us going into it flexed....

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