CriticalDance Forum

Help with my arch & turnout
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Author:  Ushdbdancin' [ Thu Sep 23, 2004 11:46 am ]
Post subject:  Help with my arch & turnout

Hi there,

I've recently startet my ballet & tap lessons (beginner) and I love it !!
Just need some advice...any one got any excercises/stretches etc to help improve the arch in my foot ?
Also, my teacher says I have a naturally good turn out but I would like to improve it .. anyone got any advice ?
Any help appreciated
Lov L

Author:  pasdedeux94 [ Sun Oct 24, 2004 4:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Help with my arch & turnout

You're one of the luckier ones. I was born with not-so-wonderful turnout. :D

~My Frappes Suck

Author:  balletowoman [ Mon Oct 25, 2004 3:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Help with my arch & turnout

pasdedeux94, I will actually disagree on the idea that that stretch helps anything with turnout.

The idea that turnout can be helped through 'stretching' the legs is very much a misunderstanding of how the turnout 'works'. First and foremost, if the issue is little to no turnout naturally or if you want to improve what you naturally have, then there isn't much that will help (except working at it in class through normal 'ballet exercises', or at home again doing simple ballet exercises like tendus and pliés, working very slowly and exclusively on understanding how the turnout works).

Basically, the way to increase the turnout is to constantly work AT it, or WITH it, when you dance.
There is no shortcut to a better one though (certainly not through what is called 'the butterfly on the stomach) and because you can only increase it if you work at it dilligently through reminding yourself to use the correct muscles, I would rather advise to sit straight, legs in front of you, and work from feet together (pointed and flexed) to opening the feet in a first position -still legs in front- (pointed and flexed).
Things where the turnout can be felt better too are tendus (en croix), demi pliés in all positions, fondus, petits battements etc... (basically most of the barre exercises).

For footwork, again flex/point is a good one, and truly point/extend the foot through the ankle (don't shorten the foot in all exercises). The best way to work through that is to be conscious of the top of the foot (it's easier to do only that, rather than do that while thinking of everything else in a normal ballet exercise -but you should still attempt to do that well of course :D

<small>[ 25 October 2004, 07:26 AM: Message edited by: balletowoman ]</small>

Author:  spangles [ Tue Oct 26, 2004 1:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Help with my arch & turnout

balletowoman I could not have said better myself. Excellent answers. I also find that rond de jambe is a fantastic idea for working on turn out. what i quite often do (and I do the same for tendu) is place a sticker on the inside ankle and one on top of the knee. I then for example get the students to do for instance a tendu devant aiming to show the audience the sticker on the foot and aiming for the sticker on the knee to face the side. Is fantastic to get students to turn the whole leg out and not just the foot. I am also a great lover of the tendu for this very reason and also for foot strength also. thereabands are excellent and I find also even massage of the arches/toes/ankles can also be very beneficial. just my thoughts though.

Author:  BBT'sPride [ Mon Nov 29, 2004 8:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Help with my arch & turnout

I don't have SPECTACULAR turnout but I work with what I have. You might have more than you think you do. The muscles offten reffered to as your "Rotators" need to be open. How?
Stand in First position and squeeze your but and theighs together. Your upper theighs will look flat like an open book. Imagine a candycane the redstripes being your muscles wrapping arround to your butt. Also while holding onto a barre lean into your heels and open intofirst position. Let them open as far as they will. There! That's your turn out. Flexibility will improve too.
As for arches. Tendue, Tendue, tendu! (sp?)
Another one. Sit both legs straight and have someone push on the tips of your feet. She should hold them ther for ten seconds. By yourself? put your feet under the gep of a portable bar and try to keep your legs straight!
Hope I helped.

Author:  balletowoman [ Tue Nov 30, 2004 2:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Help with my arch & turnout

Aie Aie Aie... Feet under something like a barre is NOT recommended. :o All you do is stretch the muscles (sometimes too much!) and while some massaging of the foot AND legs can be beneficial, this is a again something you can't do if you don't know what you're doing. Your foot can be pushed badly (in the direction that the foot wouldn't take naturally) and that means you could end up with a wonkey looking foot. :roll:

Applying pressure on the foot is basically not very good, unless you go EXTREMELY slow and soft and do it knowing the anatomy of the foot and how it works (but even then, I don't recommend it myself).

Author:  Guest [ Sun Dec 12, 2004 5:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Help with my arch & turnout

Balletowoman, couldn't agree more, as to forcing the feet! Slow & gentle is the only way.

As for turnout, in 25 years of teaching I have found that the way to get to your own best turnout, or to improve it, is to improve the placement of the hips. (Nobody's legs will turn out if the hips are slung out backwards.) And the best way to do that is to strengthen the abdominal muscles, so that they can lift the hipbones in front while the butt stays down. Then, using your rotators has a better chance of succeeding.

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