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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Laschwen

Sixth position?

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Laschwen

I am in a new class at a real dance school. I am not in the same state I had most of my previous classes in and in a different country than one of them. I never heard of sixth position ( tight paralell feet) in any class before and I must have had about 10 different teachers over the years. I was wondering what the origin of this was. I have had 10 years off since I last had attended classes but My guess is that this is not new; just different.

 

Laschwen

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ashatNYU

Laschwen,

 

I first heard of 6th position in a jazz class that I took in college. I think it is primarily used in jazz. :thumbsup:

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Mel Johnson

Actually, it's from modern dance. In ballet, it was part of the Lifar vocabulary for the Paris Opera Ballet.

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Laschwen
Actually, it's from modern dance.  In ballet, it was part of the Lifar vocabulary for the Paris Opera Ballet.

 

 

Interesting. I had several modern classes while I was in college and the teachers just called it "parallel" position. Are many people using that Lifar Vocabulary in the USA?

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Mel Johnson

The persistence and profusion of the Kersley/Sinclair Dictionary of Ballet Terms, a simple, but useful reference, has made the terminology fairly routine in the US.

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Jaana Heino

We often do some excercises for feet from sixth in beginning of the class, and did them more often even in the beginner classes. I suppose teachers feel we concentrate better on the feet when we do not concentrate so much on the turnout? :) Also, in the pointe section of classes we sometimes do some of the first excercises (pliés and relevés, mostly) in sixth, then in first.

 

I've also encountered bourrée forward in sixth once or twice. It's ridiculously hard!

 

(In my classes, the position is called both "sixth" and "parallel" quite interchangably by the same teachers.)

 

I've also heard that some people refer to an open parallel position ("second position parallel") as the seventh, the position that you get from turning in in third as eight, what I know as "fourth parallel" the ninth position, and the position where feet are in parallel but one before the other as "tenth". So all positions 6-10 are like 1-5, only parallel! I've never heard this in class, myself, though.

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Claude_Catastrophique

I have had it as 6th position in class or just as "parallel". I don't have modern but sometimes we do character at the end of the class and there we have this position (or if we have to do some Jazz-Moves in a performance)

It is an interesting question and I never thought about it. It sounds reasonnable that this vocabulary is from Paris because my teacher studied at a dance school in Paris.

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Garyecht

In general ballet and modern use different terminology—e.g., 6th position and parallel position, tendu and brush, and so on.

 

I have to admit I have never done a single exercise in 6th position in a ballet class. I have done a lot in parallel position in modern class, however. In fact I’ve become quite fond of doing center tendus, oops brushes I mean, in parallel. I’ve taken old center ballet tendu combinations and modified them by facing front, using parallel position, and adding unusual arms and modern type turns for my at home modern class that I began this fall. Different and fun.

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Hans

I must respectfully disagree with Mr. Lifar. :sweating: Ballet has five positions, and they all involve turnout! Standing with the legs parallel is therefore not officially ballet and ought not to have a special name, although there is, of course, no reason one can't use such a position in the classroom as well as in choreography.

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Guest nicoal

My current teacher occasionally use sixth at the beginning of class (maybe a total of 5 times over 2-3 years?) for some easy plies and tendus. It's laughable how incredibly awkward it is for me to not turn out in tendu, especially derriere. It just feels _wrong_ on a core level. This obviously comes from someone who has only done ballet, cheerleading type 'dancing' and a few classes of jazz. :)

 

My teacher also uses 'seventh' which is a turned in forth, but only for stretches.

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NadiaDanseuse

I teach parallel position at the barre, and I refer to it as parallel, and not 6th position. I use it during tendu and plie to guide the students into finding their natural turn-out, as a hamstring stretch, and as an exercise in rotating/isolating the leg from the hip region from parallel to turned-out. Generally, it stays there - at the beginning of the barre - and occasionally makes an appearance at the reverance, or 'cool down' in a beginner level class.

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Laschwen

Thank You everybody for your input. I see some similarities with my class in the uses of "sixth" here. I have only done it at the beginning of the barre for a hamstring stretch mostly. There have been no tendus to the back. We have done parallel second and fourth though; generally alternating with turnout. I just had never heard it named that way before. I have never heard second turned in called 7th position though....

 

Laschwen

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Redbookish
I have never heard second turned in called 7th position though....

 

 

 

Whoah there - hang on! I thought we were talking parallel positions - not turned in positions! World of difference there I think :o

 

In contemporary work - or whenever parallel positions are used - parallel positions require just as careful thinking through of alignment as turned out positions - I think doing tendus to second and derriere in parallel without letting your hip go (in the tendu to 2nd) or your lower back and pelvis go (in tendu derriere) is actuallly almost harder than doing tendus turned out.

 

But to actually turn in - except in that sort of figure of eight leg movement that's sometimes set at the barre as a warm up or hip stretch - now that would just feel wrong to me, in either a ballet or a contemporary class!

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Mel Johnson

Anything less than the turnout in the five classical positions is considered to be turned in. So, to a classicist parallel/neutral positions are turned in. And seventh position Lifar is fourth parallel/neutral/not turned out. Nijinsky's actual turned-in positions in "Sacre du Printemps" are beyond description.

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lampwick

A lot of teachers give cambre with the legs parallel.

Maybe so one doesn't clench the hamstrings and butt in a attempt to maintain turnout. Or else maybe because a lot of people simply can't hold turnout safely with cambre, so it's a "safer" choice for the knees.

 

One of my teachers gives a ton of turn in /turn out exersices. We're encouraged to really swing the leg freely. Mainly turning in/out a retire. I love this! It makes my hips very warm and it's also easier to really feel the opening of the front of the hips in contrast to the turn-in. It's a nice way to get the feeling of turnout without all the strain and gripping.

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