Elements of Turnout for Ballet Dancers

Ballet Dancers pic

Ballet Dancers
Image: jamiesondance.com

At the Linda Jamieson School of Dance, ballet students may study in either the recreational or the pre-professional program. Students are allowed into the pre-professional ballet program at the Linda Jamieson School of Dance by audition only. The pre-professional training follows the world-renowned Royal Academy of Dance curriculum.

For the ballet dancer, turnout refers to the rotation of the leg from hips to toes. It involves not only the ability to achieve rotation but also the strength to hold this position throughout an exercise or phrase. It starts with flexibility of the hips, which depends partially on such congenital factors as the natural outward angle of the femur and the lateral orientation of the hip socket opening.

Structure of the bones are not in a dancer’s control, but it is possible to strengthen the rotator muscles that allow the body to achieve its maximum turnout potential. Dancers may also work on increasing their ability to focus and control those muscles, so that they can maintain maximum rotation as long as possible.

At the same time, dancers must be careful not to force the result. It is a good thing to work toward maximum rotation throughout a class, but many dancers attempt to work beyond natural turnout and end up rolling in on the ankles. This can lead to injuries in the feet, the knees, and even the back, whereas maintaining alignment can keep a dancer performing safely for much longer.


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