One Weird Trick Again

Class again with JMH (it turns out that his surname does not start with G, something I seem to learn and then immediately unlearn on a weekly basis).

Today he gave us a handy bit of advice for plié that is, in short, One Weird Trick to Improve Your Turnout: focus on the idea of pressing the small-toe side of the foot against the floor.

It might not actually seem do much of anything to your foot (though if you have a habit of letting your arches collapse, it will correct that), but because of the way the posterior chain works, it keeps all the things turned on that need to stay turned on.

In a sense, this is an extension of what BW always says to me (knees back, knees back, knees back) when I’m failing to engage Maximum Turnout Mode . It’s just a different way of approaching the same problem: almost a cheat-code, really, to gain access to the hidden treasure-chest that contains one’s deep rotators. Or, well, to the last few degrees of that treasure-chest.

Honestly, the metaphor kind of breaks down there. It also sort of implies that I’ve got junk in my trunk.

Which, in fact, is more or less true (QV: dancers … got … back).


Prime rump roast on the hoof, y’all.


How do I know it works?


Or, more specifically, all the muscles that click on when you imagine pressing your little toe, and indeed the entire lateral edge of your foot, into the floor. Or, well, technically, they feel tired and grumpy. They’ll hurt tomorrow.

Oh, and my turnout kept happily obliging me with another degree here, another degree there, as class progressed, without me thinking about my knees at all.

This did not, by the way, prevent two of us from so convincingly imagining ourselves to be on the wrong leg during an adage that we have now done three weeks in a row(1) that we actually both looked to make sure.

  1. It’s a really nice one, so I’m glad we’re repeating it.

Neither of us, by the way, actually was on the wrong leg. We were just apparently having some kind of shared delusion.

So I guess I should add a warning label.

This technique may cause delusions of wrong-leggedness.

Honestly, though, it was just one of those days. I couldn’t seem to wind up on the correct foot after a series of waltz turns, probably because I was busy trying to make them look like, you know, waltz turns, and not like an incompetent ice skater, which is how I often imagine that my waltz turns look.


About asher

Me in a nutshell: Standard uptight ballet boy. Trapeze junkie. Half-baked choreographer. Budding researcher. Transit cyclist. Terrible homemaker. Neuro-atypical. Fabulous. Married to a very patient man. Bachelor of Science in Psychology (2015). Proto-foodie, but lazy about it. Cat owner ... or, should I say, cat own-ee? ... dog lover. Equestrian.

Posted on 2017/02/26, in balllet, class notes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. “Lead with the heel when you tendu and press the outside of your toes into the floor” – Nina Nitroglycerin, last Sunday.

    • Exactly!

      Our ballet instructors are increasingly in sync. Clearly, this is some kind of conspiracy 😀

    • Hmm, let’s try this next time. We have only a “Heal first”.

      At least I got that helped me to avoid sickeling – a “shorten the outer side of your foot” gives me a (nearly) perfect foot with 1 easy to execute command. Others in class couldn’t even execute this (they hadn’t that bad feet anyway…), but I can now avoid sickeling.

      The usual “no banana foot” and other things like this didn’t help before…

      • Let me know if it works! T and I were still raving about it in class last night.

        Also, I’m going to tuck the idea of shortening the outer side of the foot into my brain’s teaching pocket. I think that could be really helpful for my Sunday class! We didn’t have class last week, so I’m also going to spring JMH’s plié tip on them. I think it’ll help them find their turnout more effectively.

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