Jayme Thornton

Dear Katie: I Can't Stop Forcing My Turnout!

In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!


Dear Katie,

I'm starting to have knee problems because I've been forcing my turnout. I know I need to retrain my muscles so I can hold my turnout correctly—but I don't know how to do that. Help!

Maddy

Dear Maddy,

A lot of students force their turnout and aren't even aware of it—so you're actually ahead of the game! I'm guessing you already know that you need to rotate from the top of your leg, not your knee. (Oh, that classic correction: "From the hips, dear.") But engaging the right muscles to hold that turnout can be tough. When you're at the barre, think about your inner thighs rotating forward. As I tell younger students, "Pretend you have two smiley-face stickers on your inner thighs, and make sure they're always looking at each other!" Also, focus on lifting up through the waist. The more space you can give your legs, the easier it'll be to turn out. Make sure your hips aren't too tight, either. My turnout always improves a few degrees after I roll my hips out. Lying on your side, place a tennis ball under one hip and massage the muscles and ligaments gently. (Trust me, you'll feel it!)To strengthen your rotator muscles, which control your turnout, try this exercise: Lie on your side and bend your knees, bringing them slightly in front of you. Lift your feet and shins off the floor. Keeping your heels glued together, open and close the top leg. I'd recommend doing 20 repetitions, and then stretching out your hips.

Latest Posts


Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti


Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search