Turnout: The Big Piece Missing in my Technique

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For years I have been clear of most of my weaknesses. Much of them include no back strength, extensions, and turns.

Despite all the corrections taken from my teachers, I never took into consideration a bigger reason why all those technical weaknesses are, in fact, hard for me. I am missing something as important as the art of ballet itself: I am a dancer with the ability to turnout, but I do not apply it.

The reason why I got into ballet in the first place was that of orthopedic problems. Genetically, I started to walk turned-in and awkward. After some years with orthopedic boots, the doctor suggested I should go to ballet classes, so the problem could be corrected. 

Most of the ballet stars were developed by phenomenal teachers, and they were all well-trained with the basics of ballet technique. I was taught about many things in my training years but never understood how turnout really works.

I never realized I was using the wrong groups of muscles trying to achieve turnout until I was about 17. For all that time, I was using the wrong muscles to work in class, developing bulky and atrophied quads and glutes, stressing them with approaching turnout wrongly.

Turnout is what defines ballet. It is what makes it harder than other art forms. It is something we have to teach our muscles to do in order to make everything easier from the simplest tendú to the most complex 32 fouettés.

Nowadays, as ballet technique advances, many dancers who do not have proper or perfect use turn out are mainly rejected. I recently understood that this aspect is something I need to apply to every single movement I do, and now my job is to put in in my body.

Nothing comes easy, as I always say. I have been working on improving my turnout since I noticed I am lacking it. Now I understand that in order to achieve movements successfully in ballet I need to work on the right muscles. This also helps to develop the strong, lengthy ballet body that all of us want.

Also, do not forget that it is never too late to understand your weaknesses... always have them present, and work on the ones you find out later on your path as soon as possible.