It seems like the flavour of the month in the clinic this month is turnout. Not that it isn’t always an issue, but in this busy time of Eisteddfods, competitions performances and exams, it seems that everyone is desperately on the hunt for solutions to all of their turnout woes. After a few clients were delighted with finding more rotation after just a little exploration and education, it got me thinking as to how I could share what I teach in the clinic, with all of those who can’t get in to see me.
So I started writing, and created a little EBook called "Tips For Turnout" explaining all about how to improve your range, train your true turnout muscles and control turnout in high extensions. This is a great way to introduce you to some practical ways to get more range and control in your hips. It's just $9 so that everyone can afford to learn the right way of working their hips.
However, I still wanted to share a few tips here!
So what is the issue with turnout? Why is it such an elusive quality and why are there so many myths about it floating around in the dance world? And perhaps more importantly, how can those of us with less than perfect rotation dance to our hearts desire without constantly irritating our hips?
From my point of view, as a physiotherapist who works with dancers every day, there are a few main categories of people who have issues with turnout.
1. The "It-just-doesn't-happen..." people - With these dancers, no matter what stretches they do, their hips just seem to get tighter and tighter. They sit cross-legged and their knees go nowhere near the floor, and a lot of the time any stretches they try to do give them pain in the front of the hips…
2. The "It's-OK-in-some-positions" people - These dancers finds turning out very frustrating... Sometimes it's there and sometimes it's not. They may find it easy to sit in second splits, but struggle to stand in 5th position. Or they can hold it in 5th yet not in a developpé devant...
3. The "It-just-hurts-to-go-there..." people - This group may have good range, but whenever they try to train their hips, they seem to get more sore, especially in the front of the hips…
4. The “I-just-need-to-crack-them-first” people -This group will have a religious warm up that involves popping the hips either to the front or back to ‘release’ them before they can work in turnout. This may appear to work well for a while but it has diminishing returns… Often after a few months or years, they need to pop them more often, and may find that the pops are not quite as effective as they once were, or may find that the frequently popped area may start getting sore due to being repeatedly overstretched.
5. The "I've-got-so-much-I-don't-know-what-to-do-with-it" people - These dancers can also get very frustrated, as they are constantly told that they have great turnout, and can stretch into all kinds of wonderful positions, however they really struggle to show it when they are dancing, and often get told that they are just not trying.
So what is the solution? Do we all just give up and leave dancing to the ones who have ‘natural turnout’ and great control? Somehow I don’t think that that is an option for all of the millions of us who love to dance despite not having the most open hips! Instead we must discover a way to train each individual’s hips specifically, and to train dance teachers to be able to identify different types of hips early, allowing correct training of all students.