My Personal Turnout
I really believe it is important to remember that external hip rotation and turnout is not the same thing. Turnout is understood to be a necessary component of dance in general. It is presumed to be “perfect” when each leg is rotated 90 degrees laterally. However, with many years of dancing and teaching ballet, available external hip rotation coupled with the various contributions of the lower leg and foot, this rarely adds up to this magic number. We are all build differently therefore there is a vast array of individual differences in a dancers body, there are many considerations in determining how to safely optimize ones turnout. Its very important for teachers and dancers to understand the anatomical and biomechanical mechanisms underlying turnout, both general and individual, I would like to help people understand, evaluate and apply sound methods to improve their personal turnout and optimize dynamic function. Ballet is a very logical, obtainable and I believe for all body types and ages.
I get so many questions from dance teachers, dancer students and professional dancers, how to improve my personal or someone turnout?
The thing to remember is that your personal turnout is determined by a few factors. Your personal turnout is determined mainly by your anatomical structure and also at what age one starts. When one talks about the anatomical structure its to do with a combination of the bony shape of your pelvis, the ligaments that hold your hips together, and the flexibility of the muscles that lie around the hip.
The bad news is its impossible to change the bony structure of your hips, and it also depends of the flexibility of ones hip ligaments, which can also not be changed that much. The good news is one can always influence how one uses the facilities within
2. Orientation of the acetabulum the socket of the hip faces out to the side and somewhat forward, but there are individual variances. The socket that tends to face more directly to the side with a less forward facing will allow a greater amount of turnout to come from the hip.
3. Shape of the femoral neck the neck of the femur is subject to some variability. A longer and more concave neck allows a greater range of motion at the hip; it is less likely to contact the outer edge of the acetabulum in turnout and is therefore considered to be advantageous. A shorter and less concave neck will have the opposite effect and limit turnout potential.
4. Elasticity of iliofemoral or Y ligament is previously mentioned, the three ligaments surrounding the hip restrict extension. The iliofemoral ligament, strong and with minimal elastic properties, opposes extension of the hip. This ligament also resists lateral rotation or turnout of the hip. Thus, the more the hip is extended to the back, the greater the resistance to turnout. It is controversial whether attempts should be made to alter the flexibility of this ligament, as it may alter its capacity to stabilize the hip. In order to gain greater turnout when standing, dancers sometimes flex the hips by tilting the pelvis forward. This flexed position creates some laxity in the ligaments, providing slack that can be used to increase hip rotation. However, this attempted compensation creates a position of lumbar lordosis (low back sway), thrusts the buttocks backward, and is aesthetically undesirable and potentially damaging. Additionally, with a pelvis in this tilted position, the angle for using the deep external your personal turn and with the right exercises and release methods one can use ones personal turnout to their best abilities.
Factors affecting our personal Turnout
We tended to encourage dance students to turnout from the hips, which is not necessarily a bad thing. But we must not forget, anatomically, there are parts of the leg that contributes to a fully turned out leg, which also come from ones structure of your knee and lower limb joints. From personally researching different anatomical papers, they all suggest on average, 60% of turnout is created by outward rotation of the hip. The ankle may produce Twenty to thirty percent of turnout, with the remaining percentage created by the tibia and knee joint. For an understanding of how the lower leg contributes to turnout in the extended (standing) position, please consider our step-by-step program Secrets of Turnout. As you will see the limiting anatomical structures include bones, ligaments, the joint itself, and muscles surrounding the hip joint.
There are five main factors that affect your personal turnout:
Angle of femoral ante version On average, the neck of the femur is angled 15 degrees forward relative to the shaft of the femur. An increase in these anterior angulations, called ante version, often will cause someone to toe in when they walk. This is often referred to as being pigeon toed. In children who are born with more anteversion, the orientation of the femoral shaft in the hip socket makes the knees face towards each other when standing or walking. In ballet class, when they turn out their legs from the hip, the knees face the front, leaving little additional hip rotation to create the expected angle of outward rotation visible at the feet.
However, a decrease in these angulations, called retroversion, will allow one to have greater turnout. Children born with retroversion have a much easier time with turnout. Just standing in parallel, the knees and feet tend to face outward. By adding external rotation at the hip, they can achieve a larger angle of outward rotation visible at the feet than the average person. Currently, most researchers agree that these are not conditions that can be altered with training.
rotator is less effective.
Working with what you have in the correct manor will help you all achieve the right functionality of this wonderful tool. For example, if your turnout muscles are a bit tight, they can actually limit your turnout range. As ballet dancers, I know you all work very hard on this particular subject turnout you must reduce the tension in the back of the hips, by using something like a tennis ball to release the trigger points in the muscles. I will explain.
1. Start by laying on your back with you knees bend and facing upwards then gently roll the tennis ball along the outer edge of your tailbone, and into your buttocks, you will find very quickly the tight points.
2. Once found start to focusing on breathing so the muscle tension is released, if you stay there the pain will reduce, breathing deeply helps very much.
3. One you feel less pain start to make a journey around your lower back and find other points that need attention.
4. The aim is to release the muscle tension, so try to relax as much as possible.
5. We offer different stretch methods in out learning program Secrets of Turnout.
Very few human bodies possess the capacity for perfect turnout. Students should remember that they are trying to achieve more than the ability simply to turn their legs outward. Their goal must be to develop the muscular strength to control and maintain their own maximum degree of turnout at all times while they are dancing.