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 Post subject: Turnout for the adult dancer.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 2:51 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 12
Location: France
Hi there i have been reading alot of the posts on here regarding turnout and i have come across some wonderful sources of information. I am an adult Irish dancer who has been dancing for only 1 year, i never took dance classes as a child and have a very limited range of turnout. Whilst the degree of turnout for Irish dance is nowhere near as severe as of that for ballet it is still a strong requirement and one that i have alot of problems with. My right foot is not so bad it's the left one that causes me the most problems and every single class all i get told is "left foot" I have been using some of the wonderful excercises written by Tuk but my question is as a 26 year old dancer do you think my turnout will ever improve to the point where i will be able to dance without thinking about it?? I understand this is not going to be an easy thing to try to correct but do you think it's possible??
Any comments will be much appreciated.
Elle X

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 Post subject: Re: Turnout for the adult dancer.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2005 7:31 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1876
Location: New England
I don't know much about Irish Dance.

BUT... in ballet, the answer to your question is a "yes", if you get the right training. That's exactly what I did at the age of 26.

Now I teach a beginner's ballet class, and I get most of my students adequately turned out in the first couple of weeks.

Turnout is not about having someone else's body, but rather about using YOUR body well. Most likely, you are not using your left-side turnout to your maximum potential.

Mostly, turnout is about having your KNEES (not feet) point side and then MOVING them to the side in plie. It's also about placing your pelvis "high up" on your femurs and having a level waist and lengthened lower back --- a waist tilting forward destroys your possibility for turnout. If you do these things right 100% of the time, you will already be working pretty will with your turnout. And the plie will then stretch out your groin muscles to the point that your turnout is only limited by your bone structure.

I'm sorry, I cannot teach turnout on a web forum. My best advice is for you to find someone who can in person.


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 Post subject: Re: Turnout for the adult dancer.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 1:19 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 1258
Location: Scotland/France
Elle, I would recommend you work your turnout equally on both legs. If your left leg is less turned out, then adjust the right to fit the other leg, and not the other way round.

Your problem seems to be that you 'forget' about it however, and so, it doesn't look like you need to specifically work on increasing your turnout (which is harder as an adult) but on remembering to use it all the time...
So, yes, in that sense, it's really possible to improve (but of course you'll have to concentrate on it for a few weeks before it becomes second nature).


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 Post subject: Re: Turnout for the adult dancer.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 8:22 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 12
Location: France
Thanks for your replies, i am improving slowly i think it's the fact of trying to keep the turnout WHILE i dance that i find so difficult having never had any dance training it feels quite alien to me!!and that darn left foot :mad: Do you really think plies help??
Thanks again,
Elle X

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 Post subject: Re: Turnout for the adult dancer.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 11:29 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1876
Location: New England
Second position plie is where it's easiest to work on turnout. Make sure the knee points side. Then do the plie by moving he knees side. JUST the knees move, the rest of the body only adjusts to the new position of the knee. I like to start out moving just one knee at a time. Most beginners when you ask them to do that, they move their entire upper body as well. But it's instructive to stand in front of the mirror in second position and pratice moving JUST the right knee to the side, then JUST the left knee to the side. Then you can move them both at once.

Given a left and a right side, the two sides will always be different. The better we know our bodies, the subtler differences we can sense between the two sides.

Yes, holding the turnout throughout all the moves is definitely the hardest part.


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 Post subject: Re: Turnout for the adult dancer.
PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2005 5:30 am 
Citibob is absolutely right--do what he says! The most critical thing is, as he puts it, "placing your pelvis "high up" on your femurs". I call it "placement of the hips", which requires strong ab muscles.

Use those muscles to lift up the hipbones in front--at the same time the tail bone goes down in back, and the lower back lengthens and straightens. Make those abs strong, so that ultimately you do this automatically, without thinking about it.

Also, remember when working on turnout, to turn out both legs at the same time.
Good luck!

<small>[ 29 January 2005, 06:38 AM: Message edited by: Beth Kurtz ]</small>


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