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.


The Movement Philosophy of Martha Graham

Martha Graham  pic
Martha Graham
Image: marthagraham.org

At the Linda Jamieson School of Dance, pre-professional students have the opportunity to learn contemporary technique. Contemporary dance training at the Linda Jamieson School of Dance begins at the grade two level and focuses on the styles of Martha Graham and Jose Limon.

Known as one of the founders of modern dance, Martha Graham developed an innovative technique that changed the rules of performance. She conceptualized dance as a way of translating the human experience into movement. Focused on examining and illuminating inner life, she created choreography that made the emotions manifest and infused every movement with meaning.

Martha Graham believed that technique and form allow the dancer to achieve the fullest possible range of expression. She taught her dancers to contract and release, which served as a representation of such inner conflicts as weakness versus strength and fear versus bravery. She envisioned the pelvis as the stable point in the body and the initiation point of movement, and she taught articulations and spirals with this concept in mind.

Ms. Graham emphasized full exploration of space and use of the floor. Falls became ventures into the unknown, as well as explorations of submitting to and battling against gravity, while work on the floor became a way of drawing energy from the environment.

Even today, the work of Martha Graham informs and supports the modern and contemporary dancer. Technique intersects with expression to create symbolic representations of life in the world, and the technique remains as relevant as it ever was.

An Introduction to Performance Dance

Performance Dance pic
Performance Dance
Image: jamiesondance.com

The Linda Jamieson School of Dance is a Royal Academy of Dance studio located in Ottawa, Ontario. Each year, the Linda Jamieson School of Dance produces a number of high-quality dance performances, including works of classical ballet like The Nutcracker.

Performance dance, also known as concert dance, encompasses an array of dance styles that are traditionally performed before a live audience. Performance dance styles include belly dancing, hip hop, and ballet. Sub-styles of performance dance, meanwhile, include lyrical and contemporary.

The different styles of performance dance can vary greatly. For example, classical ballet is often associated with narrative performances such as The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. Hip hop dancing, by comparison, can range from highly choreographed team dances to individual free-style and break dancing.

Tap and jazz are further examples of popular performance dance styles. Like ballet and hip hop, both tap and jazz involve dance routines set to a musical score or soundtrack. Dance studios that offer classes in performance dance typically cover multiple styles of dance.

A Brief Overview of Social Dance


The Linda Jamieson School of Dance, a member of the Royal Academy of Dance, has provided professional-level training to international dance students for more than three decades. A number of the school’s students have gone on to enjoy success across various styles of dance, from classical ballet to Broadway. For more information on the Linda Jamieson School of Dance, visit www.jamiesondance.com.

Among the thousands of unique dance styles, one could argue that the art of social dance is one of the most popular, if not the most widely practiced. Social dance styles, including line dancing, salsa, swing dancing, and ballroom dancing, are not only performed by professionals at competitions and as part of live performances, but also by armatures at social events or in casual settings.

Freestyle dancing is perhaps the best example of a social dancing. Popularized nearly six decades ago, “freestyle” is a term attributed to any dance that lacks a set pattern of footwork and lacks choreographed contact between partners. Certain moves and steps may be associated with a specific freestyle dance, but individuals can implement and arrange these moves in any number of ways. The vast majority of dancing that occurs at nightclubs or public dances would be considered freestyle dancing.