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ReleveDC

Talking Turnout

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ReleveDC

DD11 recently switched schools to one in the Vaganova tradition. She is excited about the change but confused about some corrections she’s been getting with regards to her turnout. We’ve had her evaluated by two dance PTs who note that her active range is far more limited than her passive range. She has potential to improve her turnout, but the corrections she is receiving are contrary to what she has heard for six years (e.g an emphasis on turning out from the heels in fifth position). I want her to keep an open mind about corrections, yet she also must learn to respect her body. This is a tough balance for a young dancer. Any advice on how to approach this? I don’t want to come across as challenging her new school, especially since we are new to Vaganova and have much to learn, but I do want to help her understand how to work safely to avoid injury.

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dancemaven

Just to clarify,  the instruction to turn out from the heels in fifth is from her prior training? Or from the new training? 

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ReleveDC

New training. And I should mention that the correction is what DD heard and relayed to me. It may not be what her teacher actually said, but what DD understood.

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learningdance

And another question. . . she has more turnout in passive stance than when actively trying to turnout?  To me this means she has more natural turnout but struggles to control it when dancing? 

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dancemaven

I will leave it to the Teacher-Moderators to comment on this.  Hopefully, vrsfanatic can shed some light on that turn out from the heels comment. 

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ReleveDC

Yes I think that is true she has trouble controlling her turnout. More fundamentally, she has trouble accessing it in the first place, which is why I am concerned about a correction that focused more on feet than hips. But again, I am unsure if that was her translation of the correction or the correction itself. I suspect DD truly doesn’t understand how to access her natural turnout and I’m unsure how to help her. We switched schools because her former pre-pro school interpreted her limited turnout as an anatomical limitation, which was refuted by two PTs who measured her range of motion and felt her potential is far greater than her current range. They suggested different training might make more sense to her body. She was evaluated at two other pre-pro schools in our region over the past two years. Both saw more potential in DD than her former school, but agreed her turnout needs work.

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Victoria Leigh

I'm going to just take a stab at this from a teacher point of view. At 11, it could be quite easy to confuse a correction. If the child understands that the rotation comes from the hips, but received a correction such as "from 5th to a tendu front, (assuming that the 5th is at her best rotation at this point in time), the advice might have been to "lead from the heel as you tendu".  (This advice would be opposite, for instance, in a tendu back from 5th.)   The best way for you to help her is to advise her to clarify the correction with her teacher. 

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ReleveDC

The correction happened when DD was standing in 5th position. The teacher informed her that she was not actually standing in 5th. She then physically placed her heels, tightening her position. This torqued DD’s ankle and she complained to me of pain later that day. Full disclosure, I am a dancer, but not trained in the Vaganova technique. There are good reasons I chose to outsource her training, and I would never undermine her teachers. Yet, my alarm bells are ringing. Is this Vaganova, this particular teacher, or my daughter’s misunderstanding of the correction? How can she ask for clarification without challenging her teacher? She really wants to start out on the right foot (pardon the pun) at this new studio. BTW, this is a SI and her first introduction to this school.

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