Turned Out Toes, as it’s known today, started over 10 years ago. One Saturday in my studio during my beginners class, I took a marker and drew on my lovely new harlequin flooring. I always did ‘penguin feet’ with my dancers, walking up and down with our feet turned out, but as usual some of the dancers just weren’t understanding. I got down and drew round one of the dancers feet, stepping forward with her feet turned out. It was christened the Ladder and became an integral part of my beginner class. I then added on the side step to the right and left.
5 years ago I decided to move my beginner classes back into a hall in the town. I needed a way to make the ‘ladder’ portable. I drew feet outlines on an exercise mat and it worked perfectly for my class.
When I put photos on our social media 3/4 years ago people were so interested and curious. So with the encouragement of a great friend I got to work on making it a product.
Teacher friends across Ireland and England trialled the various samples in their classes and I finally launched “Turned Out Toes” in September 2019.
I have a normal day job and teach dancing also, so taking on another venture was a big decision. But I’ve kept it small and manageable. The driving force and my main motivation behind it is my little daughter Grace.
Grace was diagnosed at birth with Down Syndrome. She is the light of our lives. After the intial shock and as she met each milestone with gusto and in her own unique way we settled into life with amazing Grace.
But the one worry that never subsided was always how she would manage when we are no longer here.
So Grace is the little CEO of Turned Out Toes. With all proceeds put away to provide for her future. I worry a little less now as I’ve taken control.
“Turned Out Toes” is one of the few products on the market specifically for beginner dancers. But it is a diverse concept and I’ve been told it is being used in Championship classes across the world too. Good basics never get old or go out of fashion.
The Mats were proving hugely popular with teachers for their classes with some purchases for use at home. But when lockdown came I saw a rise in beginner parents purchasing them so their dancers could keep working at home. Some wonderful teachers even collected their mats from their studios and dropped them off at their dancers homes. To use for a week each and then clean them and move them on to the next set of dancers. This really is the ethos of “Turned out Toes”, sharing.
Our product range currently includes 4 mats. Mat 1 is turn out moving forward. Mat 2 is the right foot of the sidestep, 2a the left foot. Mat 3 features turn out moving forward and the right foot of the sidestep. This would be our most popular product for use at home.
I’m currently working on new products and can’t wait to launch these very soon.
I have been truly humbled by the response and it inspires me to keep going.
Maeve & Grace
You can find out more about turned out toes by visiting this link: – Turned out toes | Facebook
I absolutely love Turned Out Toes mats for a number of reasons, firstly they have been made in Ireland by a qualified dance teacher – and have been “tried and tested”. I was privileged to be involved in the trials of the mats and since then they have revolutionised how I deliver my dance lessons as they really work.
They provide structure and fun for little dancers- they keep children engaged and active. They improve balance, coordination and the fundamental skills to becoming a good Irish dancer, they teach the basics!
They are durable and I love the way I can move them around. The children love them, and I do too. Maeve is so professional and takes on any suggestions and comments – I can’t wait for the next set to launch.
Leanne Nelson ADCRG
Scanlon School, Birmingham
We have had our turned out toes mats for over a year and our students love using them as part of their technique training! Easy to navigate for all levels and ages lightweight to transport for teachers too! Lots have purchased for personal home use at home also. Turned Out Toes are a firm favourite at Scoil Uí Nualláin.
Cian Nolan & Ciara Sexton
Scoil Uí Nualláin, Limerick.
We have been using the Turned out Toes mats since November 2019 and they are now an integral teaching tool in all of our beginner classes.
The practicality and functionality of the mats are superb. They are easy to rollout and fold away if moving between venues.
They are a fantastic visual aid for children to follow and to see how it looks and feels to correctly turn out your toes.
As the most important element in Irish dancing this is so crucial from an early age.
The mats encourage correct foot positioning and in particular the sidestep mat helps them understand the connection between their foot placement and their dancing.
Their effectiveness is in their simplicity. Older children can help the younger ones until they perfect their balance so it is also a great tool for teamwork.
Our dancers love the Turned out Toes Mats and as teachers we highly recommend them.
McLaughlin School, Scotland.