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 Post subject: Forced Turnout in Class?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2003 7:03 am 
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Location: Virginia, USA
I'm in a beginning/intermediate adult class, and my teacher ALWAYS wants forced turn out if you can not do it naturally. He teaches Varegnova (can't spell it) style, so I'm not sure if this is just a part of their training style. I notice soreness in the inside areas of my knees that I am assuming is from the pressure put on that area from the turn out. I've never really thought about it...but I don't wan't to do something that will cause me problems in the future. Is this a class/teacher that I should question?

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 Post subject: Re: Forced Turnout in Class?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2003 11:40 am 
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Location: Wisconsin
I'm not too familiar with the Vaganova style, but I'm 100% sure that forced turnout is NOT part of their standard, accepted curriculum. The soreness in your knees is from forcing your turnout. This is definately something you should be questioning.

You mentioned that you are in a beginning/intermediate adult class - perfect turnout is NOT something that should emphasised in these types of classes. Fitness and recreation should be the focus, not technical perfection!


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 Post subject: Re: Forced Turnout in Class?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2003 11:47 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2003 12:01 am
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Location: New York
Bree is right. I study a Vagonova-based Balanchine style. Forced turnout is wholeheartedly DIScouraged. You'll end up with bad knees and no sense of how to actually use your "real" turnout.


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 Post subject: Re: Forced Turnout in Class?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2003 7:07 am 
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Location: Virginia, USA
Is this something that I should discuss with the teacher or is it a sign that I should continue to look for another class? He is set on this idea and will "hold" you feet in the "proper" position to show you how it will feel if you can not do it on your own. I have greatly noticed improvement on my turnout, but the pinching in my knees has me worried. I thought it might just go away over time...but after reading others posts I'm just nervous that it may be causing me more problems than good.

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 Post subject: Re: Forced Turnout in Class?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2003 10:05 am 
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Location: New York
tavshot,
Forcing turnout or not is a decision that all dancers face at one time or another. You may feel as though your turnout is "improving", but it may be just a cosmetic improvement. Turnout should come from the inside out, not the outside (friction from the floor) in. Wouldn't you rather build core strength and shape your body to "open" up? A real understanding of how the hip muscles work in accord with deep addominals (most of these muscles you are unaware of and can't even feel) takes a different kind of work. Real turnout will serve you better in the long run. If you're feeling sharp pain in your knees, this is detrimental to your development.

Real turnout will help you build stability in the center, and allow you to hold your torso squarely in adagio. How stable are you in the center? Can you hold your foot in flat turnout on one leg and do a decent developee without struggling? I spend many years training incorrectly and really regret it now. After just a couple of months of ignoring how tight my feet are in fifth, and how turned out my first is, I am feeling tremendous improvement in the overall quality of my work. It shouldn't be a struggle.


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 Post subject: Re: Forced Turnout in Class?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2003 11:47 am 
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Location: New England
Tavshot... the safest way I know of to work on your rotation is on demi-pointe (or even full pointe, if you can do that) with completely straight legs. I go into first position releve and rock back and forth gently from one leg to the other. Each time one leg comes off the floor 1/4 inch, I try to rotate it outward more before I put it back down on the ground. Since your knees are straight here, there is no way you can force the turnout at the knee.

Then you can try coming down from releve (still with knees straight) by pulling together the top parts of your legs and moving the heels onto the ground. Again, I believe this to be relatively safe.

If you go through that exercise, you will see what kind of turnout you really have without forcing. Also, that kind of exercise can help you increase your turnout.

Vaganova training, properly conceived, does not force turnout. But many people say they teach "Vaganova" but actually don't know much about it.

My suggestion? Turn your two legs in parallel, toes facing front. Then run --- don't walk, run --- out of the studio and never return. Find somewhere else to study.

<small>[ 23 April 2003, 01:48 PM: Message edited by: citibob ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Forced Turnout in Class?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2003 6:20 pm 
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Location: SF CA
Citibob you just made me laugh at your last paragraph, but you are so right.

Turnout comes from the hips, not the knees.

When I was a young dancer I had two (they were a husband and wife team) teachers who would teach like this. They would yank and pull my legs practically out of the sockets. Once in an attempt to get my arabesque higher one pulled a muscle in my back as he shoved my leg up into the air. Thank God for other teachers and my mother who yanked me straight out of their classes.

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 Post subject: Re: Forced Turnout in Class?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2003 9:50 pm 
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Location: San Francisco
Tavshot, has your teacher told you that the pain will eventually go away? That's what a turnout-forcing teacher told me, and after one semester, my knees and ankles were in such pain and had gotten so weak that I could no longer jump. Beware!


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 Post subject: Re: Forced Turnout in Class?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2003 9:51 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2003 12:01 am
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Location: bakersfield,ca
I have a question to ask. When do you start teaching with 180 degree turnout then. That is what makes ballet work correct and keeps you free of injury later on. I am not talking about an adult beginer, they should go at their own pace and what feels comfortable to them it takes a long time to stretch out what you need to to get 180. But seriously I have seen to many sudios that work at what is "comfortable and safe" then their kids turn 15 and want to be in an advanced class at a summer program and they are standing in some 15th century baroque position. Then what? Its not just muscles that make you turn out its also a flexability. I was one of the only people I have ever seen that could be in fifth postion with my knees pointing towards the walls to the sides to me and I started rather late with ballet classes. And I am not what you would consider a extremely flexible person. Oh well just a question


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 Post subject: Re: Forced Turnout in Class?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2003 7:04 am 
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Location: Virginia, USA
My group is a husband and wife team as well. I love the rest of the class...it is such a shame. It is the only studio in my area (within an hour commute) that actually expects adults to be pushed to their potential and does not just brush you off like a "child". I did ballet for 11 yrs and would like to take classes as seriously as an adult can (obviously just for fun...but I don't want to stay at the same level forever and that is what most adult classes seem to do...some basic moves/combinations...no correction really). I hate to leave the class, but I feel as the other poster stated, sometimes my knees/ankles are so sore when I get up in the morning that I feel like I am really doing something wrong. "Back in the day" I had beautiful turn out and I guess I was just expecting that it would come back quickly and what the teachers were doing was right...but I think I'll continue my search for a better studio...there has to be one around here!!!! If anyone on here lives in Virginia/DC area and have any suggestions for Adult friendly studios, please let me know. Thank you for all your advice! You all are great!

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 Post subject: Re: Forced Turnout in Class?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2003 8:59 am 
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Location: Scotland/France
AC, I feel this is a question of compromise. Not everyone will reach automatically 180 degrees turnout though, that's a fact. Some will, but rarely. Most will get almost there, and still 'look as if' they are very turned out, but there is also a way to present yourself to 'pretend' to have a better turnout. :o

I would say to generalise, that you have to go beyond your comfort zone to do it correctly, but not towards the pain stage... :D


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 Post subject: Re: Forced Turnout in Class?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2003 10:30 am 
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Location: Toronto Ontario Canada
i have studied the vaganova style my whole life and have never been told to force or even turn out from my ankles. your turn out should come from the hips. is your teacher not telling you this? have you talked to him about the pain you are in?
if he is telling you to turn out from your knees or ankles definitly look for another studio. but i would try and talk to these teachers first.


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 Post subject: Re: Forced Turnout in Class?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2003 11:39 am 
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Location: Virginia, USA
He does tell us how to do it correctly...but he wants it forced "until" you can do it correctly. I've spoken with him about my issue and he just says it will come with time/practice.

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 Post subject: Re: Forced Turnout in Class?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2003 12:02 pm 
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Location: Wisconsin
Quote:
Originally posted by tavshot:
I did ballet for 11 yrs and would like to take classes as seriously as an adult can (obviously just for fun...but I don't want to stay at the same level forever and that is what most adult classes seem to do...some basic moves/combinations...no correction really).
I completely understand where you're coming from. However, no matter how serious (or not) about ballet you are, you should never have an instructor force your body into unnatural positions before you're ready. If you're building up your turnout correctly - through patience and hard work - it will come much faster than if you're being forced.


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 Post subject: Re: Forced Turnout in Class?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2003 12:20 pm 
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Location: New England
I learned that the total amount of turnout is less important than that you use it fully and you hold it through all positions. 180-degree turnout is not required to maintain stability and prevent injury; but maximum turnout for the bone structure --- and alingment that will get you the maximum --- and holding that turnout --- IS required.

Also, the more turnout you have, the fewer compromises you have to make to produce good-looking lines.

I've seen SO many people who have 180-degree turnout standing in fifth position. But then they lose a good 30 degrees as soon as they tendu front. Yes, the tendu motion actually starts with TURNING IN the leg! Not just amateurs; even former NYCB dancers. Aack!

I would rather see a dancer with 150-degree turnout who holds it everywhere, than one with 180-degree turnout in fifth who loses it whenver leaving fifth position. The former will be more stable and less injury-prone, and will look better.


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