For Teachers

Stop Telling Your Students To Turn Out!

9:09 AM

"Turn Out!" is a correction you will not hear in my dance class. Do all my students have perfect rotation? No!! Do they turn out 100% of the time? No. And don't mistake my lack of use of the phrase to mean I don't correct them for this... but I use my words wisely, and the phrase "turn-out" isn't on my list of effective corrections.

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First we need to define our terms: I define "turn-out" as the legs rotating open from the hip. Simple enough definition, right? But it doesn't give you a how.

So instead I prefer these terms:
  • Range of Motion (ROM) - how much flexibility and movement you have in the hip
  • Rotation - how much you can activate the deep lateral rotators and make the hip turn.

 This is important - ROM is something you have. Rotation is something you do. Turn-out is both at the same time - but when you tell a student to "turn out," you are telling them a where, not a how.

So when we tell students to "turn out," what are they hearing?
  • make your legs go opposite directions
  • make your feet in a straight line
  • open your legs more
  • get more ROM
Telling a student to "turn out" is ineffective because students will immediately think of a shape, a position, they are to make their body fit.

>>>>>You might like - Rotation Board for turn out improvement

Dance isn't about shapes and positions... and if we teach students positions before we teach them to dance, we will forever be correcting those positions.

>>>>>You might like - effectively teaching children to dance with Eileen Juric!

Instead, try teaching a student to activate their muscles, stabilize themselves, control their body, and dance from the inside out. Give them exercises, visualization pictures, and draw bones on the whiteboard so they can understand. Teach them to "Rotate."

Where does turn-out come from? How can I get more of it? What are good stretches to give my students? 

Photo via via Visual hunt

All these questions are valuable and important. But before I address them (and it is on my to-do list!) let's talk about the real issue... you've already told your students to rotate, to spiral, to engage, to turn out... why aren't they doing it?

Now that is the real question, isn't it. 

And that's a totally different blog post.

Make sure you register for The Healthy Dancer online conference! We will be discussing range of motion, stretching, flexibility, and more! And make sure to subscribe to my email list to be notified of special content and new releases in the store.

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