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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Too much turnout?


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Okay, here's a new problem. I am constantly working on my turnout (I'm 48 years old and have been taking ballet for almost four years now after a hiatus of more than 15 years). Last night, I stayed for what I thought was a ballet class, only to find it was a modern dance class. I was going to leave when I found out about the modern dance class, but it was only two other women and me, and it was with my usual ballet teacher and she asked me to stay and there would be no charge! Of course I had to stay, how could I pass up a free class. However, I found out I have a lot of difficulity keeping my feet in a parallel direction. I have not taken a modern dance class since 1984, and I forgot how much of it is done with the feet parallel. It took all of my concentration to keep them that way. Does anyone else have this problem? After I got home I mentioned it to my husband and he pointed out that I am always in a semi-turned out position, even when I bend down to pick up something off the floor, I turn my feet out, then bend!

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Old occupational hazard of ballet dancers in modern - creeping turnout! All you can do is pay attention to the places where you're supposed to be neutral, and where turned out. Imagine what it must have been like for Nijinsky with "Sacre du Printemps" - here were all these ballet dancers who were suddenly asked to turn IN!:eek:

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Guest beckster

My feet and legs don't like parallel either! I think it's because my knees point slightly inwards (weird) and also because I have narrow heels so I can't simply put my feet together to achieve this position. True parallel seems like a very hard position to maintain.

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That, plus I'm knock-kneed, which becomes very apparant when my feet are parallel, so I just don't assume that position, unless necessary. I spoke with another woman last night about the modern class, and she pointed out that it also takes a different "type" of personality, and that just like skiing and snowboarding, just because it's done on the same surface, doesn't make it the same "sport". She pointed out that if a person has a good ballet foundation and has the "free spirit" of modern dance, that person would do better in the modern class, but it doesn't always work the other way, which I've seen. So, guess I'll just stick with ballet, guess I just prefer knowing where my feet are supposed to be, and knowing they are supposed to be turned-out!

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I have the same problem in my modern class too. My natural foot placement always has been turned out, long before I ever took a ballet class, so I don’t blame ballet for that “problem.” In fact, I don’t think ballet has changed my normal gait turn out at all, though my turn out in ballet class has definitely improved over the years.


When I’m in modern class and am working in parallel position, I try to literally turn-in (pigeon toe, that is) and that puts my feet in almost parallel position. Still, my parallel position tends to creep out with every tendu or movement of the foot. And demi plies in parallel position are just down and out weird feeling. I don’t notice any difference in my ability to balance in either position, however. In my modern class we work in turned out position as often as in parallel position.

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