Training Turnout in Tiny Dancers

For Dance Teachers and Health Professionals

This teacher training workshop is now available as an online virtual workshop with Beverly Spell and Lisa Howell.  

For the latest dates and information on upcoming courses CLICK HERE or check out the individual listings at the bottom of this page.

Many teachers struggle with hip pain and injuries in their adolescent dancers, but few realise how much of this stems from the training that children had in their early years. This course delves into the delicate art of training turnout in tiny dancers, through to adolescents. In conjunction with early childhood Master Teacher Beverly Spell, we explore safe ways to develop both range and control in young hips, preparing them for higher level work in the future, while having fun with creative play in the classroom. All good learning is laid down in layers; we explore what concepts need to be introduced at what ages and how to practice this in class.

This course is perfect for teachers who are looking to incorporate the right preparatory exercises into their tiny dancer classes to help them develop correctly and avoid injury in their hips.

Some students seem blessed with lots of range but lack the ability to control it, while others constantly struggle with the mobility of their hips. This makes training a group of students a constant challenge.

In this systematic and comprehensive approach to training turnout in young artists, Lisa and Beverly provide dance teachers with direct techniques to use in class to safely develop optimal range and control of motion in all dance students. This program begins by establishing strength and control in parallel, before adding on the control of rotation, which is hugely important in the long term health of dancers’ hips. Using elements of fun and creative play to bring scientific and detailed training programs into dance schools is a unique and effective way to help thousands of young students worldwide.

We believe that at younger ages, children should be playing and exploring the full movement of their bodies. Pushing them into ballet class at a young age and not letting them do anything else is a way to diminish all natural movement and lower their body awareness. Climbing trees and swimming, for example, are great ways for them to train the diagonal fascial lines that run through their body which will help them later in their careers once they start performing more dynamic movements.

Our Training Turnout in Tiny Dancers is specifically designed for dance teachers working with dancers under eight years of age

New Online Virtual Workshop Format

We all know that learning in person is so much more engaging than watching videos online, but unfortunately, our popular in-person workshops are simply not possible in the current climate. The original course has been divided into four 4 hour sessions to allow optimal understanding of all of the content via an online virtual workshop format.

To replicate the depth of learning and personal connection we feel at the in-person course, the content is delivered in a combination of live teaching, pre-recorded video content and personal exploration.  While you do not need to have a student model with you during the course, we highly advise planning to practice each day's content on a model after the call finishes. After the workshop you will also be given access to the recording of the calls, giving the opportunity to go over any particular parts of the course in your own time.

Call #1 - 4 Hours

The Concepts - On Call #1 we will explore the fundamental concepts of this program, including:

  • Visualisation and pretend play
  • The physical development of young students
  • The importance of crawling
  • Anatomical variations and other factors that may affect physicality
  • Safe stretches for young dancers
  • Psychological development during childhood

Break- 30 minutes

Stage One - We will then begin to work on the practicalities of introducing this work in the classroom with your youngest students. 


Call #2 - 4 Hours

Stage Two - We will then continue delving into the 5 stage program designed for students aged 4-8 to gradually prepare them for the demands of dance training, including: 

  • Introducing sustained balance on one leg with opposition
  • Introduction of awareness of rotation from the hip
  • Ways to encourage the natural development of core stability
  • Developing an effective squat pattern

 Break - 30 minutes

Stage Three - Stage three flows on effortlessly from Stage Two, with continued development of the same focusses, with the adition of:

  • More complex limb movements
  • Cross body patterning on a single leg
  • Introduction of plié in turnout
  • Continued development of core stability

Call #3 - 4 Hours

Stage Four - This stage increases in complexity, but builds on the layers developed in the earlier stages. We focus on:

  • Sustained single leg balance with external rotation
  • Conscious articulation of the hip in the socket
  • Focus on maintaining turnout through movement

 Break - 30 minutes

Stage Five - This stage focuses on the introduction of more formal ballet training, made easier by the earlier development in parallel. We introduce; 

  • Maintaining balance on a turned out supporting leg
  • Introduction of basic anatomy

Call #4 - 4 Hours

Stage Five Continued - The final stage is a perfect feed into Lisa's higher level work on turnout and preparing for increased training in pre-teen years. This includes;

  • More formal turnout exercises
  • Introduction of work in derièrre
  • Maintaining turnout while travelling
  • Higher level classical technique

Break - 30 Minutes

Q&A Session - There are always lots of questions when it comes to young dancers' hips, so we have left the last 2 hours free for going back over any questions and concerns that may be raised during the course. 

This workshop is designed to give you the most up-to-date advice in the industry to help you understand your students’ needs, analyze their differences, and them you the tools to help your students become the best dancer they can be.

To ensure you get the most out of the course please familiarise yourself with the following videos first

Finding your Turnout 

The Importance of Crawling

Walking in Turnout

This online workshop is specifically designed for dance teachers! Please note that this course is a stand-alone course and does not require you to take the Level One workshop prior to attending. However, we highly recommend you familiarise yourself with the Leap ‘N Learn philosophy and Lisa’s approach prior to attending the workshop.


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