2 3 Fun Friday, Painted Tights, and the Great Turn Confusion | Ballet Webb

Friday, February 7, 2014

Fun Friday, Painted Tights, and the Great Turn Confusion

Fun Friday, Painted Tights, and the Great Turn Confusion
One of the most confusing things in ballet is the difference between en dehors and en dedans.  In other words, which way does the turn go – outside or inside?  It can be likened to a child learning their right from their left.  There are only two choices, but it can be much more difficult than it would seem with a 50% chance of success.
There are many hints and tips that teachers use as a memory aid – the most common being that “en dehors is out the door”.  But I haven’t found this to be too successful.
So I’ve told my students to stand in retirĂ©, and imagine that I’ve painted the word “en dedans” on the front (inside) of their working thigh, and “en dehors” on the back of the same thigh.  Whichever way the turn is intended to go is led by that side of the thigh.  I also suggest that “en dehors” is actually “out the back door”, since the writing on their tights is on the backside of the thigh, and that’s what leads the turning movement in the correct direction. 

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #14d:
“To remember the correct turning direction, imagine that ‘en dehors’ is painted on the back of the retirĂ© thigh, and ‘en dedans’ is painted on the front.”

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-Jimmy Dean


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