Ballet Positions Explained

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					It's so exciting to begin ballet work and be part of a real dance class! From the day of
your very first class, your teacher will demonstrate the five basic ballet positions.
From them you will learn to add the moves, jumps, turns, and leaps that are
choreographed into dance routines. Even if ballet isn't your first love, it's still
important to learn it. No matter whether you want to study jazz, tap, lyrical, or even
hip hop, all basic dance moves come from ballet.

Premiere En Bas

Before and after you perform any ballet routine, you assume this position. The words
mean "preparatory position." You will stand tall with your head high. Your chin
should be level, but pretend there is a string pulling your body straight up to the
ceiling. Allow your shoulders to relax, and curve each arm slightly. The fingers and
thumbs of each hand should point toward, but not touch, one another. There are
numbered positions for both your arms and your legs. But you won't always perform
them together! For example, sometimes you will have your arms in First Position and
your feet in Fourth Position. If you are just running through the Five Ballet Positions,
however, do the First Position of the arms with the First Position of the legs, and so
forth.

First Position, Legs

When you stand in first position, touch your heels together, and strive to point your
toes outward in opposite directions, one foot from the other. The balls of your feet
touch the floor. You are trying to form a straight line with your feet.

First Position, Arms

From your preparatory position, raise both arms slightly but still curved, as if you
were holding a beach ball. Your fingers should curve slightly in at chest level.

Second Position, Legs

In second position, stand with your feet apart-about the length of one of your feet. But
you still have the heels facing one another, with the toes pointing out.

Second Position, Arms

Next, raise your arms so that you are holding them straight out to your sides. But
remember you are a graceful ballerina! Even though your shoulders are up, let your
elbows drop slightly below the level of your shoulders. Your fingers curve gently
downward.

Third Position, Legs
You reach Third Position by placing one foot in front of the other. The heel of the
front foot rests against the arch of the back foot. Your toes continue to point away
from one another. Practice this with first your right foot in front, and then your left
foot, so that you can stand either way with equal ease.

Third Position, Arms

In this position, one of your arms remains as at Second Position. The other arm is
raised gracefully upward so that your fingers are over the top of your head, as if you
are trying to feel the top of a hat. If your legs are in Third Position with your right foot
in front, then your left arm should be the one over your head. The right arm will curve
slightly downward.

Fourth Position, Legs

Your feet are the same as in Third Position, but there is about a foot's-length of space
between your front and rear feet.

Fourth Position, Arms

In this position, keep on feeling for that top hat perched up on your head with one arm.
Move the other arm forward, curved slightly inward at the level of your chest. If your
right foot is placed in front of your left foot, then your right arm is the one in front of
your chest.

Fifth Position, Legs

In what some dancers have named as the most difficult ballet position, stand with
your feet aligned against one another. The toes of each foot touch the heel of the other.

Fifth Position, Arms

Raise both arms, curved, over your head. They should be about six inches apart. Your
palms should face inward, and you should be able to see your fingertips without
raising your head.

And Remember...

As you transition through your ballet positions, use your hip and thigh muscles to
move your legs. If you try to turn your feet outward from the knees, you're going to
hurt your knees eventually, and you'll never learn good form. As you move your feet
from one position to the next, keep your toes on the floor. And your arms should
always be graceful!

				
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