Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers to close ×
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Better turnout in extension to the side?


Recommended Posts

Here is my (over-intellectualized ;) ) problem:


In retire, my working leg is well turned out with the knee pointing almost, but not quite, straight out to the side.


However, when I extend that leg a la seconde I cannot maintain the leg as far side. Either my hips start twisting towards the working leg or my leg moves "forward" so that instead of pointing approximately to the side it points to something like side-front. My knee is upward, and when facing the mirror the leg looks turned out at least to my untrained eye.


I'd very much like to have my leg more to the side - this side-front makes my escarte derriere look awfully turned in. (Better turnout in supporting leg would certainly also help, but I know how to work on that, and I'm making progress there.)


Since the difference between retire and extension is the bentness or straightness of the knee, but the "closing" movement occurs in hip joint, I'm thinking this must be a muscle strength/flexibility/coordination issue. But where? :confused: What should I stretch or stengthen? Are there any exercises I could do?



Link to comment

Actually, this is a rotation issue. For now, let the leg "migrate" a few centimeters forward when you extend it. Proper placement of the body is more important now than a completely-to-the-side à la seconde. Just keep working for increased rotation from the hip when you do stretches (see Archives!), and the leg will eventually open to the side more, but maybe never get absolutely 90º to the side!:)

Link to comment

Some schools ask their dancers to rotate the knee towards the back wall in extension to the side. In my company, we are asked NOT to do this, but to have the knee pointing towards the ceiling as you mention.


In my experience, inability to open my leg to the side is usually due to not holding the rotational turnout on the standing side, not standing entirely on top of that leg. (But very few people get their leg entirely to the side).


I don't think you're over-intellectualizing anything.

Link to comment

Thank you, Major Johnson, I didn't realize that was the issue. That rotation thing might also explain why my retire devant is a tiny bit better than retire derriere. I'll check the archives for good stretches for rotation - I don't really know many of those, and I think I might be tight that way.


For the record, I'm not hoping for a leg entirely to the side - 80 degrees would be plenty for an adult starter like me. :) After lots of staring at the mirror I've come to the conclusion that almost everything starts to look nice at about 75-80 degrees. The difference between 80 and 90 seems to be visually smaller than the difference between 60-70 and 70-80.


Thank you too for the tip, citibob, I'll try to check my supporting hip. My supporting side is generally my weak point although it is improving. (I wish we did more demi-pointe at barre. It forces me to work my supporting side correctly if I don't want to sway around madly.)



Link to comment

Paivi, that's a good working attitude toward helping rotation, whether on the working or standing side. Just easy does it, and improvement will occur over a moderate length of time.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...