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Ballet/Turnout, muscles & my big butt.


Dear Dianne,

It's unbelievably great that there is a place to get all kind of ballet questions answered, thank you very much for your help :) So here I am with a bit more.

I do turnout stretches (like sitting in a butterfly pose for a long time and doing exercises from this channel ), they help but still I have very poor turnout. I guess that I should stretch my hips area more but I don't know how to do that. Would there be any good if I did frog stretch, cause it seems to be the right stretch to 'open' the hips? Isn't it harmful for my knees? What can I do for my feet turnout?

Furthermore, could you advice what muscles I should train more to lift my legs sideways easier? I can almost do nice side splits but I can hardly lift my leg 90 degrees and it's even harder to keep it turned out (however, I find it less difficult while lifting legs in other directions). Can it be related to my stiff hips?

Lastly, I would like to know if there is any way to make my butt smaller? Well, I'm not one of these very skinny ballet girls but my butt isn't fat, just big and it doesn't get smaller when I lose weight, it keeps being like a big muscle. I know it is a funny question but this body part makes my arabesques look pathetic- no beautiful lines...

Thank you for reading all this, hope to get your reply soon.


P.S. If it can somehow be useful, I'm 18 years old.

Hi Julija. Sorry for the delay getting back to you.   down the left sidebar are some links to articles about turnout - "Increase Ballet Turnout".

You are right in that the frog position is not good for your knees. It strains the knee joints while not doing anything for your turnout.

If you are flexible enough to have a sideways splits position, this tells me your turnout problems are related to the shape of your hip joints.  Also, if you cannot lift your legs to the side, I am guessing that you are holding your leg too far to the side and that you may need to bring your second position forward. Partly to hold your turnout, and partly to use the thigh muscle more easily to hold your leg up.

Your abdominal and back muscles may be too weak for you to hold up your leg, as well.

As for your butt muscles - they are more visible with less turnout, unfortunately. However, traditional ballet costumes hide them. In particular, this article may give you some clues:

You cannot do much about your feet turnout - you must work from the hips. The sad truth is, if doing the right foot positions strains your knees, you do risk knee injury.

I hope this answer helps. All the best, Dianne.  


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Dianne M. Buxton


I can answer questions about ballet positions, ballet movements and ballet technique, pointe shoes and pre pointe exercise, mens training, ballet diet, general health issues related to dance, artistry, performance, modern dance, rehabilitation from injuries, and teaching ballet. I have taught ballet, choreographed, produced and directed dance companies. For any answers related to health questions I will offer my experience, and give references to information, but I also automatically include "see a professional".


dancer, ballet and modern, choreographer, dance teacher, artistic director, ballet mistress, producer

I.S.T.D. Actra, Actors Equity


Graduate of the National Ballet School of Canada where I studied Cecchetti, Bournonville, Vaganova and Graham technique. Taught at the National Ballet School of Canada, York University, George Brown College and Harvard University.

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