So, the action of turning out – engaging the hip rotator muscles to turn the legs out from the hips – and “turnout” – the degree of flexibility in someone’s hip joints – are similar concepts but not the same thing…right? I mean, someone with very flexible hips can have a bigger degree of turnout than someone with less flexible hips (say… an adult beginner…), even if the less flexible person is engaging all the correct muscles, right? And we’ve all seen that picture in Classical Ballet Technique that shows the “ideal” ballet student and their near perfect turnout, even without any prior training (or engaging of the muscles).
(If I’m totally wrong, feel free to set me straight, people)
It’s so aggravating when people (and I’m not talking about a trained ballet teacher here… just fellow students) want to measure one’s degree of turnout by how far the feet are from that perfect 180 degrees. You can’t tell me whether I am turning out or not just by my feet, not unless my entire leg is visible. And turnout that’s not coming from the hips, but rather just faked with the feet is just asking for injuries. If my hips only allow for ~110 degrees without sacrificing alignment, then that’s what I will do. I’ll continue working on strengthening my rotators, of course, and stretching, and perhaps with time those 110 degress will increase to ~120 or more. But 180 is not going to happen – and nor do I expect it to.
Besides, I read once somewhere that if you use your epaulement to its fullest, and dance, no one will be looking at your feet 🙂