Dance positions

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Dance position is a position of a dancer or a mutual position of a dance couple assumed during a dance. Describing and mastering proper dance positions is an important part of dance technique.

These dance positions of a single dancer may be further detailed into body, head, arm, hand, leg, and foot positions; also, these positions in a dance couple can additionally take into account connection, relative orientation of partners, and directions of movement (or of movement intention).

In ballet, the term "pose" is used to describe stationary dance positions; the most important are referred to as "first position" through to "fifth position." Following are the descriptions to all five major ballet positions:

Five basic foot positions[edit]

  1. First position: This is the main ballet position, and for most beginners the basic positions you will start from. Your feet should be turned out only as far as is comfortable for you. You should feel completely balanced in this position and the entire sole of your foot and toes are in contact with the floor. Make sure to not have your feet rolling forward and that your turn out is uncomfortable or where you are going to fall over. Do not try to get them in a completely straight line á la Charlie Chaplin, until you have much training and built up flexibility! Also, notice how your heels probably won't touch just try to get them as close as you can while still being comfortable.
  2. Second position: From first position slide one foot away from the other. You should have a space of about one and a half of your feet length between both feet. Make sure to keep your feet turned out similar to that of first position.
  3. Third position: Now slide your foot back to touch the other, but instead of touching heels together as in first position, this time bring one foot further across the other. Your heel should be touching the arch of your other foot. Third position will probably be the start to most of your barre exercises as a beginner, so take a little time to find and get used to this position.
  4. Fourth position: From the third position slide your front foot directly out in front of you. The distance between your two feet should be about exactly one of your feet.
  5. Fifth position: From fourth position slide your front foot directly back towards you. Bring your front foot slightly further across your back foot than in third position. When your feet touch, your front toe should be roughly in front of your back heel. The 'ideal' position is to get your front foot to cover your back foot. You should be so turned out that you are standing toe to heel, both front heel to back toe and front toe to back heel. To execute this perfectly takes years of training; for the time being, position yourself so you are comfortable.

Five basic arm positions[edit]

  1. First position: You should look as if you were holding a beach ball that is too big for your arms. As you get this position you should have about a foot's distance between your curved arms. Once in this position lower your arms to have about an inch or two inches from your abdomen.
  2. Second position: Your arms should be a straight line with your arms extended out from your sides. Keep your elbows facing back, and keep your arms relaxed.
  3. Third position: From second position keep one arm out straight and bring the other one in as if you are holding part of the beach ball we mentioned earlier.
  4. Fourth position: From third position, again keep your one arm straight and raise the arm that's holding the beach ball above your head.
  5. Fifth position: This position is similar to first position, other than your arms should be above your head. Keep your arms as if they are holding a beach ball.[1]

Body positions[edit]

  1. Arabesque: A position of the body in which you are on one leg with the other leg raised behind the body and extended in a straight line.
  2. Attitude: A position of the body in which is a variation of the arabesque. In this position your extended leg is raised behind the body but bent at the knee at an angle of 90 degrees.
  3. Assemblé: A jump in which you leave the ground on one leg, and land on two. Your legs come togetherat the same time and return to fifth position.
  4. Grand jeté: A big jump from one foot to the other; this is where one foot brushes of the ground and seems to look as if it was thrown.
  5. Plié: Bending of the knee or knees.
  6. Turnout: The dancer turns his or her feet and legs out from the hip joints; your feet positions.
  7. Pirouette: A spin or turn- a complete turn of the body on one foot, on point or demi-pointe (half- pointe), in which on leg is lifted in pique, or where your one foot is connected to the knee by your toe and the knee is pointed out to the side.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Five Basic Ballet Positions". Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  2. ^ Nedvigin, Gennadi. "Ballet Terms and Positions". Atlanta Ballet. Retrieved 29 September 2017.