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First Parallel

Guest LaurieM

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Guest LaurieM

I hadn't known that such a position existed in Ballet before I started, since I assumed that all movements would be executed in the turned out position.


I personally find this position uncomfortable (my legs want to turn out!) and difficult to stand in. I noticed that I rarely stand with my feet parallel even outside of class.


Does anyone know why that could be?

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knock, knock... a young dancer here.


This is the case for me too. I don't like 6th position either. I think this may be dependent on your hip structure. Some people's hips are turned out naturally, and others are more turned it.


I'd be interested to hear what others have to say too.

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Guest AmyLiz008

I don't like 6th parallel either.

When my feet are parallel, my knees turn in. If my knees are parallel, then my toes turn out a bit. Which is correct? :wink:

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Sixth position is just a balletic way of saying "standing normally".


You really don't use 6th position in classical ballet, except for couru steps (running with turned-in feet on pointe). Sixth position is used in some neo-classical ballets and I have mostly heard it refered to in the classroom for how to stand when doing some non-standard warm-up exercises for the feet, liking pedaling.

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Sixth position has helped me work on some alignment issues, especially with respect to sickling. For instance, doing releves in 6th position has been helping me take a straighter path with my feet rather than going off the proverbial railroad track.

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Standing facing the barre, in sixth position, and rising from demi pointe to pointe, up and down a number of times, is a great way to break in pointe shoes! :angry:

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I consider myself a modern or contemporary dancer so sixth position (parallel position) is something we work in almost every class. Though I don’t mind doing most exercises in parallel, when I plie in parallel, I always feel as if my knees are caving in. Whether they really do or not, I can’t say, however. Also when doing brushes (tendus or degages) I have to think of trying to pigeon toe my stance (not foot) just to return my feet to parallel. So though I often work in parallel, I find it harder than working in turned out.


Why it is hard for some of us is easy. Most people have some degree of turn out in their normal stance. It’s just the way our bones are assembled. No matter what the human characteristic is, there are individual differences among people.


From a mechanical point of view, it is most efficient to walk with your feet in parallel. That’s because all the force your body is creating is directed forward (the direction you want to go) when that’s the case. When your feet turn out and you walk, you are creating a force perpendicular to the direction you are walking, which contributes nothing to your intended purpose (walking forward). Think of skating, which has a definite side motion. When you walk turned out, essentially you are skating to a degree.


Having said that, attempts to improve people’s walking efficiency by trying to get them to walk in parallel have been totally unsuccessful. It seems we have a natural gait and our bodies resist changing it.

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I am not sure people have answered the question about the "feet turned out; knees parallel" issue raised on this thread. I know for me, it is because I have tibial torsion. I am not sure how much of this is hard core structural and how much can be changed, but it does cause problems for me in plies, with difficulty keeping my knees over my feet. My physical therapist (who works with dancers from the Joffrey) is working on this alignment issue with me. It is a difficult one to correct, or at the very least, minimize. Perhaps another benefit of sixth position is learning how to get those stubborn knees to bend over the feet. If you can't do it in parallel, I can't imagine how you could do it turned out.

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For all you guys with turned out feet + parallel feets... I would say that your feet are naturally over-rotated (or maybe a forced rotation) - this will cause a lot of stress on your knees.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have had a very hard time adjusting to ballet, because all my dance training has been with teams that do not turn out while we dance. (Jazz, Lyrical, Modern, Tap, Kick, etc)


I find it the most difficult when doing pirrouttes because we always did a piroutte in "6th position" without ever thinking it should be turned out, that wasn't how we were taught.


Apparently that is the "easy way out" technique wise, turning with proper turn out has a greater need for control of your center.


So this doesn't answer how parallel first applies to ballet, but it is an easier way for many dance teams to make sure their dancers all conform to the same position. After all 0 degree turnout is easy for everyone to have than 180. (Unless you have been trained in 180 :offtopic: )

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(i'm not sure if i'm allowed to post here. so I apologize if i'm not but i am 18 and out of school)


It's a lot of fun when you take both ballet and jazz intensively and get confused and start doing things in ballet first in jazz and jazz first(sixth position) in ballet! I also agree that working in sixth is harder then working in first. I can postion my weight better and my alignment is also better. So, that makes my balance better and piroettes INFINETLY easier. It frustrating when I can do a clean triple in ballet and can barely land a double in jazz. :lol:

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  • 3 weeks later...
I also agree that working in sixth is harder then working in first.... It frustrating when I can do a clean triple in ballet and can barely land a double in jazz.

I think we have the opposite problem. I can still land a clean triple from 6th (used to be able to do up to five pirouttes before...) but can only do a single from 1st!

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The funny thing is I started serious jazz way before i started serious ballet so I should be able to do jazz pirouettes easier. Go figure. :blushing:

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  • 4 months later...

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