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Ballet as we know it began evolving at a time when fencing was an important part of court life, whether as martial art or sport. The Italian and Spanish ideals made quite a bit out of turnout, and it is very important for fencing with a light sword or a rapier and main gauche. Several forms of folk dancing also include a good deal of turnout, as it provides the dancer with an ability to travel in several directions from any given stance or position. After awhile the turnout grew to be a virtue in itself, apart from utility (look at 18th-century furniture. Cabriole legs are each turned out 45º from straight.).

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