Dear Katie: Help! I Can't Hold My Turnout!
In our “Dear Katie” series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email [email protected] for a chance to be featured!
When I sit with the soles of my feet together, my knees easily touch the floor, and most exercises to improve turnout are easy for me. But when I’m actually dancing, my turnout is terrible, especially on my standing leg. Why doesn’t my flexibility translate to turnout?
Turnout isn’t just about flexibility—it’s about strength. You can be the most flexible dancer in the room, but you won’t have great turnout until you build enough strength to support yourself correctly. You need to find your upper rotator muscles, which are critical to turnout. Here’s an exercise that’ll get those muscles to fire:
Lying on your side, bring your feet together and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle. Raise your feet and shins while keeping your knees together and your bottom knee on the floor. From there, do clamshells, opening and closing your top knee while keeping the bottom leg still. Trust me—you’ll feel it in your rotators!
Start with 20 reps per day on each side, and increase as you get stronger. Make sure to stretch your hips afterward, so you don’t lose any of your natural flexibility. Eventually, you’ll be able to hold that fabulous turnout while you’re dancing.
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