Beginner Ballet Tips: Improving Your Turnout

First position of the feet, turned out; intend...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my ballet class, we’ve recently been working on improving our turnout, and I’m always looking for new stretches and exercises to help improve my turnout (in addition to working on stretching out my splits). Turnout in ballet refers to the outward rotation of the feet and hips.  One of my favorites is the frog stretch. Even though it looks a bit ridiculous, it stretches really well. NextDance.com describes the frog stretch as

 This is the popular stretch where you lay on your stomach with your knees bent, legs turned out, and feet pressed together. This stretches your inner thighs, which will help enable better turnout, especially in pliè.

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Ballet Etiquette

Knowing what to expect when you walk into a ballet studio is one of the most important things to know if you’re going to start ballet classes. Some studios will be more lenient than others (I take classes at both Philly Dance Fitness and Koresh Dance Studio–Philly Dance Fitness is a lot more laid back than Koresh is). Don’t let that scare you, it’s not really terrifying as it seems as long as you know what you’re doing.

I can’t really say it better than they did, so check out Grown-Ups at the Barre’s Balletiquette post for a good do’s and don’t’s list for ballet studios.

The 3 most important things I grabbed from the article are (that I wish I would’ve known when starting):

1. Make sure you tie you ballet shoes and tuck in the laces (as opposed to tying big bows on the front of them). I have tied mine and cut off the ends so they don’t stick out.

2. Leave enough space at the barre for the person in front and behind you. Some instructors are great when you’re new and will help to make sure you have enough space. If they don’t, it’d be best if you have enough room to swing your leg out in front and behind you. When doing center work, leave enough space between you and your neighbor, and make sure you leave “windows” so the people in the line behind you can see themselves in the mirror.

3. Expect Corrections. This was probably the toughest thing for to get a handle on because I’m such a perfectionist, but everyone is going to get corrected. You’re instructor isn’t picking on you, and everyone was a beginner at some point. You’re there to learn.

What do you think are the most important ballet etiquette rules are if you’ve been in classes before?

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