Photo by Erin Baiano

Dear Katie: Why Can't I Keep My Leg Flat to the Side in à la Seconde?

In our Dear Katie series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

Whenever I raise my leg higher than 90 degrees in à la seconde, it moves diagonally in front of me—I can't keep it flat to the side. How can I fix this?


Dear Lexi,

Fun fact: Most people are physically incapable of lifting their legs flat to the side! That requires perfect, 180-degree turnout, which almost nobody has.

When working in à la seconde, dancers usually move their working legs slightly in front of them in order to maintain their turnout, even in tendu. It's a widely accepted practice, viewed by most teachers and coaches as technically correct. I'd much rather see a dancer in proper alignment with a beautifully turned-out leg than a dancer losing her turnout in an effort to get her leg directly to the side.

Just make sure your weight stays over your supporting side, your hip is down, and you aren't lifting your shoulders. If you've got all that going for you, a little diagonal shift is nothing to worry about!

For more of Katie's helpful tips and advice, click here.

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