Irish dance pet peeves
- Choreography to pop music, in particular Michael Jackson or Gangnam style
- Trying to emulate Riverdance/Lord of the Dance but not getting the actual choreography right….at all
- Calling it “Irish step”
Literally the bane of my existence
Anonymous asked: So my biggest struggle is my turnout- HELP!!! -KMM
hey KMM! Sorry for responding so late- I’m doing all my answers today.
Turnout is my biggest struggle too. I think good turnout is a combination of two things: strength and flexibility. You need to have strong ab, hip, inner thigh, quad and calf muscles in order to support what you’re doing. These will all help you have proper alignment when you’re dancing. You cans do things for your flutes as well, such as “clamshells” that look like this:
(photo taken from dance.net) where you basically lie on the floor, bend both legs into a triangular shape and lift and lower the top knee, using your hip as a hinge. make sure that your toes are touching. You should feel this in your flutes and/or hips. Do 15 on each side, then increase the amount once you have that many down. Remember, slower is better as it engages more muscles :)
Also, make sure you stretch these muscles, especially your hip flexors. you can do a “pigeon” stretch like this on each leg for about 30 seconds:
(photo taken from fixbody.com) you can also do “classic” stretches such as putting your feet in a diamond shape in front of you and bending over them (butterfly stretch).
When you turn out, make sure it is from the right place. Some people try to increase their turnout by forcing it from their knees, which not only upsets your alignment, but can cause further complications such as shin splints. It is also very uncomfortable. When you do turn out, turn out from the hips. Here’s a video that can help you find your natural turnout- I haven’t watched it all the way through but he has some good things to say at 0:40, and about 1:20. The actual part that helps you find it is at about 3:30, where you place your feet in parallel and pivot on your heels. Look at your natural turnout and try to mimic it while dancing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6ZHiGPLNRg
As for turnout in your dancing, I would recommend practicing at home (if you’re not already) with a mirror that allows you to see your feet (obviously). Start with simple movements, like skip-two-threes and slow back trebles, and try to keep your turnout. Once you feel you can do them fairly well, set up a camera and do them without looking into the mirror. Were you turned out?
Since you can’t compete with a mirror in front of you, make sure you remember how turning out feels rather than how it looks. Once you can do the basics with turnout, start drilling bits of steps, then full steps, then full dances, all while focusing on turnout.
Once you have your dances down and you don’t need to focus on the steps, focus on your turnout and cross while you’re dancing. Hopefully, you’ll see a big difference with your dancing… and your teachers and judges will too!
Best of luck! xx