Ballet dancers have been turned out since the time of ballet de cour, well before the days of ear-high developpes. Turnout enables the dancer to move easily from side to side, to jump, and to pose without ever turning away from the audience. Dancers have always believed that it looks better that way. Back in the days of court dancing, women wore huge, concealing skirts, but men showed their well-formed legs in elegant silk hose. Turnout displayed those handsome calf muscles to better advantage.
Turnout is what enables a dancer to raise the leg elegantly to the side without displacing the hips or torso. Try to do this without turning out and you'll find that when your leg reaches waist height, your hips become uneven and your alignment is lost. Turnout facilitates everything you do in ballet, and batterie would be quite impossible without it: absent good turnout the heels get in the way of the beats.
Proper turnout starts deep in the hips socket and continues all the way down the leg to the knee, ankle, and foot. Led by the inner-thigh musccles, the entire leg rotates. A few lucky dancers have a full 180-degree turnout, but it's impossible to dance with none. Work fully with what you have-your imperfect turnout properly used looks better than perfect turnout on someone who can't control it. You can and should stretch gently to help open your hips. Turnout should be carefully coaxed, never forced.Working in incorrect, overly turned-out positions can cause injury.
Your knees are aligned directly over your toes at all times; position your feet accordingly and do not roll inward, especially when you plie.
Turn out both legs equally at all times
Don't let the pelvis "tuck under" in and effort to increase turnout
It's a rotation within the hips, not a clenching of the buttocks
Don't force your feet into a perfect toe-to-heel-heel-to-toe fifth position if it means the slightest compromise or straight knees or a properly placed pelvis
Never force your feet to turn out in a plie and then try to straighten your legs - it could injure your knees
Now you have achieved an almost perfect state of readiness; your body is properly placed and lifted, correctly turned out, free of tension. There's just one more thing: a pleasant, intelligent expression on your face.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a sheet of "homework" from my pre-pointe teacher. I have no idea where she got it, or even if she wrote it herself. The page looks like it was scanned out of a book. I just want to say, if anyone recognizes it as theirs, please contact me. Credit is where credit is due.
Have you ever beat yourself up because you don't have the "perfect" ballet body?
The dictionary's definition of perfect:
entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings
My definition of perfect:
stand-out, personal, different and utterly beautiful
Both definitions are describing ballet bodies. The first, describing an Odette, or Aurora floating on the stage, completely fake.
The other is more realistic. There is no perfect ballet body. EVERYONE'S body is different, so if one girl had an ideal body built for ballet, no one else would have it. That's what makes HER special. If another girl has thick legs, but a narrower upper body, that's what makes HER special.
My body type: tight hips, abnormally long legs, and a short torso. That's MY perfect ballet body. It's what makes ME special.
A Corps de Ballet isn't made up of 10-20 clones of one girl. They ALL have different shapes and sizes, and help each other grow in dance.
Body types are especially hard on late-bloomers, and a lot of them often fall into dangerous food disorders. Stopping meals is not the solution to getting a trimmer body. It can put your life in danger.
So whether you're tall, short, thick or thin, you are beautiful.
Having properly fitting ballet shoes is VERY important in a ballerina's life. To make sure that you have correct shoes at all times, check your shoes frequently, about every 2 weeks. If you notice your shoes becoming a tad bit painful, start saving money for a new pair, or alert your parents.
Remember, ballet shoes are meant to be snug, so follow these simple steps to find out whether your ballet shoes are KEEP or TOSS.
Before testing, put your shoes on.
Step 1. Walk across the room. Do a couple pirouettes, releves, whatever gets your feet moving. Do you feel an uncomfortable pressure on your HEEL? Is there a red mark?
Yes: TOSS No: KEEP
Step 2: Pointe your foot. Do you feel the tip of your shoes pulling on your toes?
Yes: TOSS No KEEP
Step 3: Do 32 changement. Do you find yourself tripping (a tiny bit) over your toes?
Yes: TOSS (get a snugger fit) No: KEEP
Step 4: Do you have more than 1 BIG hole in your shoe?
Yes: TOSS No: KEEP
Step 5: After doing all of this, do the sides (next to the nails) of your big toes hurt?
Yes: TOSS No: KEEP
It's time for those shoes to go. Ask your dance teacher for advice on what kind works for you.
You can hold onto those puppies for a little while longer! Check 'em again in 2 weeks!
R.M.R. ~ i dance. i drink coffee. i like music. im your average white girl. i developed a mathematical formula for happiness. i hike. i want to serve my country in the US Army. i like the sound of a piano and the smell of clear mascara and noxema. i drink red bull. i am a compulsive disney movie watcher. i like breakfast foods and parallel construction. but most of all, im true to myself.
Hi There! My name is Rebecca, and I am the author of From Plies to Pirouettes! If you ever see something of yours here, please tell me! I would be happy to credit you, or remove it. Credit is where credit is due!