Rolling in

Ballet Term Definition

Ballet dancers who struggle with turn-out will often try to force their legs and feet into a turned out position, often causing the ankles to roll in. If there is too much weight on the inside of a dancer’s foot it is called rolling in and is not the correct way for ballet dancers to improve their turn-out. Rolling in can result in increased pressure on not only the dancer’s ankles but also their knees as well, possibly leading to injuries.  If a dancer is seen rolling in by a teacher, it should be corrected right away by showing the student how to properly work and engage muscles for turn out.

The rolling in look of a dancer’s foot is usually a result of compensation from either being taught incorrect, “fake it until you make it” technique, or from the dancer not fully understanding the importance of structural alignment in all parts of the body.

Rolling in can be avoided by knowing the proper way to stand in ballet positions: with the toes and heels flat on the floor with turn-out coming from the hips, not the ankles.  This allows for proper development and understanding of the muscles needed to both execute difficult steps and have a long career prone to less injury.