2 3 Sensational Saturday Tool Statute | Ballet Webb

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Sensational Saturday Tool Statute

Sensational Saturday Tool Statute

Perfect turn-out is that ever-elusive, constantly pursued goal that dancer’s often wring their hands over. Of course we all want perfection, especially in turn-out. But why?

The quest I see most often in students is simply to get a “tight fifth” position, with little or no thought given as to what this position is intended to achieve besides the appearance of being in that position. What needs to be recognized is that turn-out is a technical tool. It exists because it makes dance technique work better – more stability, greater facility for movement – and of course, appearance and line.

My concern is for those students who can stand in a perfect fifth, but cannot work or move close to that degree of turn-out. I call it “window-dressing turn-out”: it may look good when a dancer is standing still, but it doesn’t work as the technical tool it is meant to be.

Particularly in America where so many students study dance but are not auditioned and hand-selected for their body’s suitability for ballet (i.e. genetically gifted with turn-out and flexibility), forcing flat turn-out can cause problems and even injuries. Turn-out can be very effectively developed, but it must be done (developed) from the hip socket, not the feet (top down, not bottom up). If the thighs rotate, the lower legs and feet will follow. This way, the turn-out involves the entirety of each leg, and thus allows turn-out to work as the tool it is meant to be.

Want to see how turn-out works as a tool? Before any piqué onto two feet (as in sous-sus) or one foot (as in arabesque), rotate the piqué leg a bit extra right before stepping onto it. You should feel much greater stability and balance. Try it!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #15p:  
“Turn-out is a tool.”

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