- Ankle weights
- Lots of practice time
Ballet is the most challenging form of dance. It requires flexibility, strength, balance and turnout. Some people have natural turnout, others must work for it. Turnout is essential for good ballet technique as everything develops and originates from turnout of the hips. There are lots of ways to improve your turnout, you just have to take the time to do them.
Sit on the floor. Bring your feet together so the bottoms of you feet touch. Sit up straight, spine tall, neck stretched, chin lifted. Place one hand on the side of your legs and press down the opposite leg at your knee. Try to get it as close to the floor as possible. Switch sides. Then place your elbows on your legs and press down both legs at the same time. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat three times.
Lay on the floor on your back. Bring your legs straight up. Open your legs as wide as you can so they get as low to the floor as possible. Keep your legs straight at all times and keep your legs positioned over your hips. Have someone gently push on your inner thighs. Hold for 30 seconds. Release but keep your legs out. Have the person push again for another 30 seconds. Repeat three times.
Stand in front of a mirror. Turn sideways so you are in profile. Stand in first position. Suck in your stomach and tuck your butt under so your hips naturally turn out. Hold for one minute. Release and take in a deep breath. Suck in your stomach and tuck your butt under again. Try to push your turnout a little bit further. Hold for one minute. Repeat five times, trying to push your turnout more each time.
Wrap ankles weights around your ankles. Lay on your back and scoot your butt right up against a wall so your legs are held straight up in the air. Open your legs out. Push your butt as close to the wall as possible. Keep your legs positioned over your hips. Let the weight of the ankle weights slowly bring your legs down. This exercise will be painful. Your hips will be sore but you have to hold it for as least 15 minutes at a time for it to help your turnout. Do one to two times daily.
Sit back in the position in step one, seated on the floor with feet together. Now, lift your heels as high as you can so that your heels are lifted and toes pointed touching the ground. Lay on your back. Press the small of your back into the ground by sucking in your stomach. Place the ankle weights on your hip bones to keep your hips down. Have a partner gently push your knees down as you try to keep your heels lifted. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
Practice daily, even when you're sore. Massage your hip flexors to relieve tension.
Don't force turnout to come from your feet, it comes from your hips and thighs.