Ballet Shoes, Pointe Shoes and Details About Turnout

Ballet Shoes, Pointe Shoes and Details About Turnout

Ballet Shoes, Pointe Shoes and Details About Turnoutblack t shirt

Nine of the ten questions I get about ballet is about turnout. Very few of us are born with the hip socket and flexibility that gives us the 180 degree look. I say “look” because it is very rare that a dancer actually has it, but the luckier ones are close.

It’s more important to hold the turnout that you do have….if you watch dance movies carefully you will see that the most brilliantly artistic dancers in the world are not necessarily born with a lot of turnout – and it doesn’t matter! That is the good news.

Here’s some technical info: your lateral rotator muscles are your prime turnout muscles, specifically: Piriformis;Obturator Internus;Obturator Externus;Quadratus Femoris; Gemellus Superior; Gemellus Inferior. These muscles lie underneath your gluts. When they contract your thigh rotates. If your leg is behind you, the gluts and hamstring muscles also help to hold the rotation.

Yoga is excellent for stretching – don’t give it up!

Get an illustrated dictionary or anatomy book from the library and take a look at all these muscles. I think this helps with feeling them working and then relaxing. Envisioning how a muscle works, correctly, helps build muscle memory, I believe.

Some people’s thighs are in a different position in their hip sockets, that allows for more turnout. This is the way they are born. Don’t look at anyone else and compare. Also some people have tibial torsion, which means their leg from the knee down is rotated outward. It can lead to other problems, but will give their feet a turned out look, while their knees and thighs may not be able to achieve the same turnout.

It really is about the turnout you can hold, as opposed to the look. I was watching the bio movie on Suzanne Farrell recently. She is so NOT turned out. But that doesn’t matter when she is dancing. What matters is she had professional training and was very strong, and very talented.

Every prima ballerina has different attributes physically. Many are not born with that wonderful turnout. It just doesn’t matter. Am I repetitive? I’ll say it a hundred times!

Rent a few ballet movies and watch the stars. They are not all turned out – but they are in control and, on the whole, dancing safely. Remember, theater is the art of illusion!

If you’re not convinced, go to and buy a book “Tune Up Your Turnout” by Deborah Vogel. You couldn’t get a better or more detailed study on the anatomy and function of turnout.

Dancers who take advantage of Pilates and Yoga, are learning to enhance their muscle tone. You can build up a lot of tension working in ballet viking shirts and hoodies and pointe shoes, which leads to a deterioration of muscle tone, unless your daily routines involve stretching and relaxing.

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write by Griselda

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