How to develop turnout

About turn-out. Lesson 1

The most frequent question I am getting during my Ballet Technique classes for all levels is the question about turn-out, how to develop turnout in correct and healthy way.

I am appreciating the interest to correct execution of the movements from the students of all levels, which is not only evidence of their healthy attitude towards their bodies,  but also will bring them the most benefits from the exercises, regardless of their aim.

Here I am explaining some of principles which can help you to develop your individual turnout.

Please note, this information is not suitable for complete beginners.  Please do not perform any of these movements if you have an unhealed injury of your lower extremities. Be kind to yourself, be conscious!

The main idea is to develop turnout solely from the hips, to strengthen the necessary muscles and avoid unnecessary tension around the hip joint.

It's important to keep balance between relaxation and tension. During this lesson we going to work on achieving turnout without unnecessary tension and by that developing maximum possible turnout for your individual possibilities  (don't forget we all different and need to work from with our unit possibilities and give it a time). The key is to find and strengthen the "right" muscles.

We are going to exercise our turnout doing demi-plié in a wide 2nd position

1 Begin with standing in wide 2nd position, do not exaggerate the turnout of your feet rather close the position a little. Its very important to work solely on turnout from the hips.

2 Relax the Gluteus maximus muscles!

Try to keep the Gluteus muscles relaxed during the entire movement.
The Gluteus maximus, the largest of the Gluteal muscles, is already one of the strongest muscles in the human body.

3 Connect in your mind with the hip joints and your femur, or thigh bones.

4 It's also important to set-up for the movement BEFORE your are starting the movement.
Before you about to move imagine your thigh bones, rotating backwards, "sending" your knees away from each other to each side.

5 Keep thinking as in 3,4 and start the pile movement. Do it slow!

You have reached the demi-plié  lowest point. Don't forget the knees are in line with the feet!

6 Raising up from demi-plié :
Do not think " I am raising up".
Continue thinking the bones are rotating backwards and THE KNEES ARE SEPARATING FROM EACH OTHER TO THE SIDES, DESPITE THE MOVEMENT UPWARDS. This is very important for preventing the "collapse" of your turnout, which is very common among the students.

 Keep doing it!  Good luck! and let me know here about your progress or further questions.

In one of my next posts I am going to answer questions about the importance of the posture for turnout and how to work with the muscles around the hip joint.
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