From your hip!

Hold it!

Turnout, Turnout… TURNOUT!

Sound familiar? If you’re like me, you’ve tried just about every trick in the book to appear more turned out. Sadly, it seemed every trick had a consequence. The tricks would compromise my alignment, make my hips pop, cause my arches to roll inward, and put pressure on my knees. Shoot, I even use to twist my tights to make the seams appear they were touching! Obviously, I wasn’t fooling anyone, and the only thing I gained was discomfort and injury.

We all strive for better turnout. Wouldn’t it be great to magically get 180˚? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s just not possible. Sure you can stretch until the cows come home. You might open up your hips and gain a minimal amount of range, however, it’s not going to get you what you really need; strength. I’m not telling you to stop stretching, but let’s look at using the turnout you already have and making it better.

Here’s a great turnout exercise you can do that will help you build strength and hold what Mother Nature gave you. All you need is a couple of Lazy Susans, or spare your family’s kitchenware for some tennis swivel discs!

Step one:

Align the discs side by side near a table or something that can assist you with your balance.


Step two:

Place you feet in the center of each disc and stand parallel.


Step three:

Connect you core.


Step four:

Engage your hamstrings and gently rotate your legs. You want to feel the back of your legs drawing towards each other.

*Having trouble finding your hamstrings? Try shifting you weight from your heels to your toes. Do you feel the back of your legs tighten when you  press your heels into the ground? That’s engaging your hamstring. Now keep a tripod of energy / weight in the foot and strive for and oppositional energy pull up and down the back of your legs to maintain the hamstring connection.

Step five:

Maintaining the engagement of the hamstrings, return the legs back to parallel. Then release the hamstrings.


For best results, repeat this exercise 10-20 times.

Now the next time you’re in class apply the same energy through your hamstrings as you dance. Feel the connection to your turnout and maintain it on all those in-between steps. You’re teacher will be impressed!


Happy Dancing

The Offbeat Ballerina :)