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What do you prefer? 3rd or 5th position?


  1. 1. What do you prefer? 3rd or 5th position?

    • A 5th position no matter what of course!
    • 3rd since it allows me to work better!

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What do you prefer in class? A proper 3rd position or a bad 5th (for those of us with not good enough turnout).


Today a teacher told me that I would work my rotators much better if I did a third position with my heels closer together than in a fifth since it would be more as a fourth position (Yepp I have bad turnout and large feet attached to short legs...)


so to mee, what she said made sense. So now I'm curious about how you feel about that.

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I can't really answer the question as posed. As a general rule, good technique is better than bad technique, even if the good technique is more simple...


But then again, if you keep on doing what you already know how to do exactly right, you'll never develop. Working from fifth is more difficult, sure. It makes me look worse, sure. (And let's not even mention fourth.) But I still want to do those, as I feel I can work enough from them to develop...


It's not "fifth no matter what", but it's not "third because I can work better there", either. I'd like to answer "depends", but there is no such option! :)

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This division between 3rd and 5th does not quite work that way for me either. I find it equally easy (or maybe hard?) to work from both positions, probably because we do not do much work from third.


I know there are teachers who approach this third/fifth issue by preferring a slowly deepening third. Mine approached it with tons of work from first, and then very slowly (one exercise at a time) introducing full fifth, so that in 2 years we were doing practically everything from fifth. I don't know if they would have done it differently if our school had open classes with widely varying student abilities.


I prefer fifth myself, because I think I look prettier in it. (My fifth is not perfect, but when I'm en face I have this utterly satisfying hole between my ankles I love to look at. :P )


I've actually got a bad habit of sometimes overcrossing my fifths which I'm trying to break. It happens especially easily in the last one of fast tendues or jetes a la seconde. I'm tall, with hyperextended legs and small feet. Thinking of crossing my tighs and not my knees often results in a slightly overcrossed fifth. :)



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Come to think of it, we never work in 3rd, so I'd have to say 5th (even if it is sloppy!).


Is 3rd position a somewhat redundant position? I have 1 RAD grade 6 class, 2 cecchetti intermediate foundation classes and one open "Imperial" class and 3rd is never used.


Could someone enlighten me?




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Never able to do a True Fifth, I would do the first tendu-from-fifth exercise from something about halfway between fifth and third, working to meet heel to toe during tendus and degages. By the time we got to petit allegro, there were many steps that required quick change of weight, and there, third position just would not help.


Yes, Rio, my teachers have said that Third position is antiquated, obsolete, never used.

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Left to my own designs, I use third position for very beginning young students, gradually to build rotation and turnout, and in a remedial class where I encounter a mixed bag of pupils, some of whom are very well rotated, and some not. It won't hurt the former, and it will be good for the latter. I also use third position when teaching beginning pointe, to differentiate between a simple relevé in place, versus the sous-sus in fifth. It is also used in historical contexts, such as Bournonville. One of the first things that the dancers do in "Konservatoriet" is a grand plié in third position. And then of course, there are all those times you stand around onstage watching the other dances, and much of the time, you stand in a loose third position.

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Guest beckster

I am almost sure that 3rd is used in the lower RAD grades - below grade 6. The reason I think this is because my old grade 6 teacher would nag those who had come up from grade 5 to use 5th not third.


I use 5th, but I guess it's an English 5th because it is heel-to-bunion. I got told off for overcrossing if it was any more crossed. I often overcross 4th, but I'm working on it.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest BBNButterscotch

At my studio, the younger kids work in 3rd until they older and have more developed turnout and such. I like working in 5th though, just for the simple reason that I use it more, because I use it on stage and stuff.

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Guest ducklingdance

i would prefer to work in a proper 3rd than a lousy 5th. this way, i can be more stable and centered instead of trying to maintain a lousy 5th, thus distracting myself from doing all the exercises.

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