I’ve finally finished one of those drawing things. I am super proud of how the dress itself came out! The wig is a bit funny, but I love love love the dress and how the “sequins” look.
Etain Mulvenna of the Mulvenna Academy and Michaela Hinds of Butler Fearon O’Connor. Top two dancers in the U19A competition.
Photo by Shannon Cohoon
I promised to make this post about 300 years ago, but all of these stretches and workouts were taken from the McGing pilates instructor Jackie who works for the Cincinnati ballet, Wellington Orthopedic, and has been on tour with Irish dance shows before as a trainer! This is what I do to help my turn out. But keep in mind that this is in addition to drilling it into your steps which is the most important part! So here we go…
Stretch #1: The frog stretch. This is probably the most beneficial for your turnout since it’s literally forcing you to open up the front of the hips… it’s a pretty common stretch and is what I do most often and what seems to help the most.
HOWEVER, if you have bad knees like me, sometimes you might have to switch to this stretch…
Stretch #2: The Butterfly stretch. It stretches mostly the same muscles it’s just a little easier on the knees if you start to feel them hurt a little(:
But in addition to stretching the front of the hip (your turnout muscles as we so lovingly refer to them at McGing), it’s also important to keep your whole hip nice and loose and flexible! So we have this stretch for the back of the hip (this is my favorite one)…
Stretch #3: The back hip stretch. As Jackie would say, you should feel it in your inner booty.
First you put your legs like this (but don’t cross the legs over!)
Then you lean over like this!
Then after you do this stretch with the right leg in front of the left, sit back up and do it again with the left leg in front of the right.
Another good stretch for the backs of your hips is this one…
Stretch #4: The butt stretch. It stretches the back of your hip and your butt, and it’s fabulous. Remember to do it on both legs! To get a deeper stretch, squat down further into the stretch.
But as I always say, it’s important to stretch your turn in too and stretching your turn in will actually help achieve a higher degree of turn out! So that brings us to…
Stretch #5: The turn-in stretch. Don’t skip it! It will honestly help you get better turn out if you do it in addition to your regular turn out stretches. trust me. Plus it’s good for your hips! Side note: make sure when you do this you’re letting your whole hip/leg fall to the sides, not just from the knee!
But in addition to stretching, you’ve also got to learn to engage the muscles. And here’s how:
Exercise #1: The theraband exercise. Even if you do not have a theraband still do this exercise, just try and push your hip further out since you won’t have any resistance!
Basically you tie your theraband together and put it around your knees(if you have one), and you lay on your side like this with your legs bent.
Then you rotate your whole leg out from the hip and try and push it out as far as you can! Do around 30 reps of this on each leg. Remember it still works even if you don’t have a theraband!
This brings us to the final exercise:
Exercise #2: The in-out-up thingy (I couldn’t think of a clever name sorry).
But basically you lay on your side and raise your top leg so it’s slightly wider than your hips and parallel to the bottom leg.
Then you turn your whole leg out from the hip.
Then you keep turning in and out slowly from the hip 10-15 times, then the last time you turn it out, raise it slowly as high as you can, like this:
Then hold it for 4-8 counts, then lower slowly and repeat the whole process about 5 times.
Anyways hope this solves a few turn out woes! Sorry it took so long to get this up!
One of my favorite dresses (and dancers) of all time- Abby Coyman! abcoy
The one… The only… KTVH theirishdancingdiaries
Chiara Zuccarello of the McGahan Lees Irish Dance Academy. 6th place in the U17A competition. Such a unique and elegant look.
Photo by Shannon Cohoon
Irish dance (definition): A sport in which being able to easily run 6 miles, do 600 crunches and 8,000 calf raises does not mean you are in good enough shape to dance a 2 minute long jig without praying for death.