Health & Body

Ask Deb: How Do I Help My Students Use the Turnout They Have?

Getty Images

Q: My students have varying degrees of turnout, but it's clear to me they aren't always using what they have. Any suggestions on how to help them?


A: Great question! Let's address this with an exercise in standing. Start in first position and lift the left foot off the ground (still rotated), with your toes touching the right ankle. It will be challenging to keep the left leg turned out—but turned out it must stay throughout the exercise. Next, rotate the orientation of the body to the right until your right leg (standing leg) is in parallel, maintaining the same starting shape. This means you are now facing the same way the right foot is pointing. Finally, rotate the whole body back to the left until you return to your starting, rotated position. It's so easy to over-rotate and pronate on the standing foot, forcing you to lose balance. Do this same movement at least 10 times on the right side before switching.

I like this simple, yet hard, exercise for many reasons. It helps the dancer work the rotation at both hips at the same time. It also helps improve balance or proprioception on the standing leg. And finally, it helps to train control and integration of turnout in movement when the student figures out how to return to the front without rolling in on the standing leg.

It's easiest to do with bare feet, harder in soft slippers and definitely more challenging in pointe shoes. Have fun with it!

Teachers Trending
Marcus Ingram, courtesy Ingram

"Water breaks are not Instagram breaks."

That's a cardinal rule at Central Virginia Dance Academy, and it applies even to the studio's much beloved social media stars.

For more than a decade, CVDA has been the home studio of Kennedy George and Ava Holloway, the 14-year-old dancers who became Instagram sensations after posing on the pedestal of Richmond's Robert E. Lee Monument. Clad in black leotards and tutus, they raise their fists aloft to depict a global push for racial justice.

Keep reading... Show less
Teacher Voices
Photo courtesy Rhee Gold Company

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a shift in our community that is so impressive that the impact could last long into our future. Although required school closures have hit the dance education field hard, what if, when looking back on this time, we see that it's been an incredible renaissance for dance educators, studio owners and the young dancers in our charge?

How could that be, you ask?

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
Photo by Yvonne M. Portra, courtesy Faulkner

It's a Wednesday in May, and 14 Stanford University advanced modern ­dance students are logged on to Zoom, each practicing a socially distanced duet with an imaginary person. "Think about the quality of their personality and the type of duet you might have," says their instructor Katie Faulkner, "but also their surface area and how you'd relate to them in space." Amid dorm rooms, living rooms, dining rooms and backyards, the dancers make do with cramped quarters and dodge furniture as they twist, curve, stretch and intertwine with their imaginary partners.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.