28 January 2012

Turnout 101

  My dear reader Thea asked me about turnout in school yesterday... This is for you :)

What is turnout?
  Turnout is the action of turning the hips outward causing the knees and feet to follow.This rotation allows greater extension of the leg, especially when raising it to the side and back. Turnout is the basis on which all ballet movement follows.

Why do dancers need to turnout?
 As mentioned in the previous answer it allows the dancer to lift his or her leg higher in the side and back. One of my teachers also said that it is more stable compared to turn-in (the opposite of turnout). Some dancers will anterior pelvic tilt (stick the behind out)because this allows lateral hip rotation to occur more easily. This will however, affect the dancer's posture, since it requires the back to arch to remain upright.

What will happened if a dancer does not turnout?
  Based on experience dancers who don't turnout get a good reprimanding from their teacher :) Dancers who don't turn out properly or force the turnout carry a greater risk of injury, especially to the knee. They'r feet also tend to "roll forward." Although weight should be mostly on the big toe when dancing, rolling forward is incorrect. Turning -in will also cause the dancer to use the front quadriceps muscle to lift his or her leg instead of the ideal under-thigh (hamstring) muscle.

Some things to remember when turning-out:

  • Turnout starts from the hips, NOT the knees or feet.
  • Lift the arches.
  • Don't force the feet out.
  • Don't push the pelvis to the front.
  • Don't lean back.
  • Straighten the knees.
  • Lift up...
This is just one part of dancing Ballet, Pull-up is another matter entirely! :D

Sources: Wikipedia, personal knowledge ^_^

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