The Anatomy of the Hip
Not all hips are created equal, and this creates quite a challenge for dancers and dance teachers. Within one class of 20 students there will be a wide-ranging selection of turnout range, spinal mobility and hip control, which makes it very hard to train all students to their full potential, while keeping everyone safe. It is important for all dancers to understand about the basic anatomy of the hip, but also to know how their own hips differ from anatomical 'normal'. There is a huge range of variation in the placement and angle of the hip socket (acetabulum) and femoral head which can influence the base line of turnout capacity, however, do not be too quick to blame your bones! Most people are not using anywhere near their full available range of motion. To learn more about specifically testing individual dancers' hips please check out our Level One Dance Teacher and Therapist Training Course.
Understanding how all the muscles of the hip work together to support our movement and control in different ranges is also important. Keep in mind that most anatomy books discuss the function of muscles for normal humans, not the extreme ranges and control required for todays dancer. Many muscles change their function in different ranges. For example; Piriformis, one of the Deep External Rotators, can actually internally rotate the femur above 90 degrees. The videos below outline the basic muscular anatomy around the hip, as it pertains to a dancer. For more information on training the hip correctly, check out the Training Turnout Resources below.