Forum: Ballet / Ballet - Adult Dancers

Ballet Teacher Wants Me To Stretch My Knees?
By LeahStars
On Sun Aug 02, 2015 01:43 PM

Hi guys,

I'm in this ballet class and I have some concerns.

My gut instinct is telling me she is wrong - but she is the teacher and I'm a beginner - so maybe I don't really know what I'm talking about?

In class at the barre - we are going through all of the positions - doing plies, etc. and she notices that my turnout is not a perfect 180.

And she tells me to fix my feet - heels together - so that they are at 180 degrees - and to do my plies that way. But it is so hard to do them that way... I mean I feel twisting in my knees - it hurts a little bit. It is not what I thought it would feel like.

I thought the idea of turnout was that there is no tension in your knees - to rotate only from the hips and not the knees.

She told me that if I wanted to improve I need to stretch the ligaments in my knees to get a comfortable 180 degree turnout.

I always thought that you are not supposed to stretch ligaments - that it might even be dangerous? I mean she walks around class in pain complaining about her "bad knees and back".

What do you think?

I'm thinking about quitting the class... I don't want to risk injury.

She got really mad when I asked her about it. : S

But it is really disappointing because I'm in a small town and this is the only adult ballet class I can find.

3 Replies to Ballet Teacher Wants Me To Stretch My Knees?

re: Ballet Teacher Wants Me To Stretch My Knees?
By vivien_o
On Mon Aug 03, 2015 07:11 AM
Turnout should never come from the knees, that's a sure-fire way to get knee problems. Work on stretching your hip flexors, that's where your turnout should be coming from. Also make sure to work on your gluten, that'll help with turnout. Something that I often do is sit on the floor and loop a theraband around my ankles, using turnout muscles to push my feet further apart.
re: Ballet Teacher Wants Me To Stretch My Knees?
By LeahStars
On Mon Aug 03, 2015 06:16 PM
Thank you for your comment.

This is what I thought was correct.

You don't want to compromise the structure of the knee. But it is possible to strengthen and stretch the muscles in your hips to improve turnout.

As I ask round... it is odd that this is not black and white. There doesn't appear to be like an "accepted standard" for a lot of things in dance.
re: Ballet Teacher Wants Me To Stretch My Knees?
By Ballerina_Bunny
On Tue Aug 04, 2015 12:57 PM
Yah, many things in dance are not really 'black and white.' Teaching methods are going to vary and along with those varying teaching methods comes varying opinions on what is "correct." Dance is art. There are very few solid lines in art. Plus, ballet can be taken as striving for perfected technique and a perfect line when there is no such thing as 'perfect technique' or a 'perfect' line.. There may be correct form, but there is no perfect form... if that makes any sense at all lol. It's all about aesthetics and what is pleasing to one may not be pleasing to the other.

But I ramble....

If you're interested in turnout exercises to safely strengthen and improve your turnout, these threads contain some good stretches/exercises/etc:

www.dance.net . . .
www.dance.net . . .
www.dance.net . . .

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