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Time to Turnout

Apr 14, 2022

One of the fundamental elements of Irish dancing is turnout - it is something we hear a lot of our MWM dancers talk about. Turning out our feet is something our teachers will have taught us from our very first lesson, but that doesn’t mean that it is easy or comes naturally to a lot of dancers. Actually, by practising turnout when we’re dancing, and not working on our flexibility and mobility outside of this, we are most likely making it worse overall. 

It is important that we perfect the basics of Irish dancing, such as turnout, timing, posture, rhythm, in order to make our choreography look technically impressive on stage. Without the basics, it is difficult to make intricate steps look effortless. 

Whilst breaking down our steps and focusing on our turn out is good, sometimes we need extra help to improve our strength and mobility - especially if we want our feet to stay turned out until the end of our dance. Here are three exercises we use to help our MWM dancers with their turn out. Give them a go, and let us know how you get on!


Front Lying Turnout

In order to turn our feet out our hips have to be able to externally rotate well (rotate outwards). Therefore if your hips are tight or lacking mobility, you will struggle!! β €

Performing this stretch with correct form will lead to better turnout from your hips and greater posture too. This will help your turnout become better naturally over time and less forced. β €

β €πŸŒŸLying face down β €

🌟Toes into the ground and feet flexed β €

🌟Heels rotate from an upwards position to a turnout position keeping your toes in the same place as you startedβ €

🌟DO NOT let your hips move off the floor or stick your bum out (MOST IMPORTANT TIP) 

🌟Squeeze glutes

🌟Rotate to where feels comfortable, don’t force it. 

🌟Try not to us the ankles, you should feel it in the hips 

🌟Repeat this exercise 8 times, rest for 30 seconds and repeat for 3 setsβ €

Sliding Wall Turnout

We used this stretch in our 2020 turnout challenge and we had lots of pictures showing us massive improvements!

🌟Lie down flat against a wall - your bottom glute and top glute must both be touching the wall - as well as your shoulders and feet (ask your parents/guardians permission beforehand!) 

🌟Slide heel up the wall and at about 6 inches raised turn your foot out until little toe touches the wall

🌟Slide your leg up the wall until you can’t slide it up and keep the little toe touching any longer 

🌟Hold it for a few seconds, then lower with control and repeat 

🌟Remembering all of the touching points and making sure they don’t leave the wall throughout the move

🌟Repeat 8 on each side 

Seated Crossover Stretch

The piriformis muscle is located in the gluteal area and turns the leg both outwards from the hip and inwards too! When the muscle is tight, we struggle to turn the leg out and hold it out until the end of our dances! β €β €

Try the position that Isla is taking in the pics and notice how tight yours is. β €

🌟 Make sure your ankle is on your knee, not your foot, your foot should be dangling over the edge of your knee β €

🌟 Try to get a 90 degree angle at the knee β €

🌟Take photos to track your progress

Try these exercises everyday for two weeks and share your before and after pictures with us :) 

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