The Five Positions in Ballet

The Linda Jamieson School of Dance, based out of Ottawa, Canada, has provided dance education services for over 30 years ago. The Linda Jamieson School of Dance company regularly performs a number of classical ballet performances, including The Nutcracker and Coppelia.

Ballet technique is based upon turnout. Rotation of the legs and feet begin in the hips, with special attention drawn to the proper alignment of knees and feet to ensure safety while maintaining a strong and correct foundation upon which to build the required dance movements. It is crucial that ballet performers work toward increasing turnout, while maintaining balance and control in each position. The alignment of second, third, fourth, and fifth positions involves engaging the gluteus medeus muscles as well as the lower abdominals and the adductors of the upper leg.

To achieve a correctly placed third position, dancers must draw their feet together placing the heel of the front foot in the “hollow” or arch of the back foot. The third position is necessary for the successful completion of all basic beginning exercises and it’s mastery is therefore important for all young ballet performers. To move from third to fourth positions, dancers must slide the front foot forward until the space between both feet is compfortably placed on the floor in a turned out position keeping the hip and shoulder alignment square. Finally, the fifth position is similar to third position but the dancer must dynamically lift the body up using all the muscles of the feet legs back and abdominal wall in order
to place the heel of the front foot in line with the first toe joint of the back foot.

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