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Ballet Talk for Dancers

How many of you can do a perfect fifth position?


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Last night, for some out of the blue reason, I began questioning the fifth foot position and examined myself and realized (with horror) that my fifth is dreadful! Is the quality of one's fifth sheerly based on good turnout?

My fifth is sad, it's weak and if I try to push it a bit (from the hip obviously..NEVER the knees and feet), I have a super hard time holding it!

Is this because of my less than ideal turnout (once again the bane of my existance!) and lack of strength ?


How is your fifth position? How can one improve ones fifth or is it a lost cause...?

How many people can do an ideal fifth?

Should my teacher have even approved me for pointe with such a sad fifth as I have!?



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Mine is far from perfect, fairly open, but it IS improving slowly with time and work. :) I'm sure had I started as a wee child, it would be better, but my developmental years are far beyond me, so it is what it is within the realm of what is structurally possible. It's not muscle flexibility that is holding me back; it's the big ligaments in the groinal area that run from the pelvic girdle to the inner thighs and I realize there is only so much I can do to make sure I am using every possible centimeter of the range of motion that I have!

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I don't have a great extension, am fairly flexible for a more mature dancer, but I do have a really good 5th position. Go figure.

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Mine is not good. I wrote about it on the other thread about turnout. I have no desire to go on pointe, so it is what it is. They recommended a book on the other thread "Tune up your Turn out." I would like to get the book--not out on Kindle yet!

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Mine is far from a perfect fifth! Although I can see my turnout gradually improving in first position, it doesn't look like it has improved much in fifth. I suspect that this is due to tight muscles through the pelvis (I have some issues with the piriformis).

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Nowhere near. It's kind of odd since my first is decent - but I just feel like my legs get in my way in fifth. I also think it's harder to held on to that 'corkscrew' turnout feeling in fifth than it is in first.


Maybe first is more reflective of what's just naturally there in the construction, but fifth shows the ability to use it (ie. strength, alignment, etc)?

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Close to closed. When I'm focused, and just standing still it can be completely closed, heel to toe, but I find I can't really work in that position. :\ so yeah, not perfect at all. I've probably got a good 2-3 inches from my bunionette to the heel open.

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Poor - I have a gap of three inches when I'm particularly concentrating on turn out and a bit more when I'm thinking about some other aspect of class. I no longer worry about it because worrying doesn't make it better and nothing else has either!! I just do the best I can. Like Mazenderan I feel my legs are in the way.

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My turnout is better than average, but I have always sat cross-legged whenever possible, and I think this has helped to keep my turnout in better than average form. Now, if my legs were smaller, I think I would have a really good fifth, but as many have stated, those darn legs seem to get in the way! (Too much skating and skiing as a child - that's my excuse anyway) Also, as for pointe, I have to really work to keep my turnout when en pointe, but through the years, that has greatly improved.

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My fifth is not very good either - I vaguely remember having a near perfect fifth when I was a teen but I have never been able to get it back as an adult.

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Ahhh... The old fifth position... If only we were all so blessed to have perfect ones! (mine also leaves something to be desired)


There are 3 main things that affect your turnout range;


1. Tightness and/or weakness in your rotation muscles

2. Shortness or tightness in the ligaments surrounding the hips

3. The physical shape of the bones that make up your pelvis


We all love to blame our bones sometims as it's easy! And means we might not have to work quite so hard... But it is not often the case. The first two are more often the culprit and can be worked on at ANY age :)


There is a thread relating to this with some techniques and exercises already being discussed. You can find it here;


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My fifth is not very good either - I vaguely remember having a near perfect fifth when I was a teen but I have never been able to get it back as an adult.


I had a much better fifth pre-children...my pelvis now is not the same shape that it was before, and it has definitely affected my rotation.

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This is so interesting! Thanks for the replies and it makes me feel better that for MOST of you, it's not easy :)

Miss Persistent, I am the opposite..I don't want to hear that my bones are limiting me! I like to hear that, as you say, it can be worked on! It means there IS hope:)

I was watching my teacher who is a dancer too and his fifth is far from perfect but he is great at holding it! My problem may be more the fact of the " weak rotation muscles" and the "tight ligaments: in the hip (per my post about turnout, Miss Persistent)


I can't remember how my fifth was as a kid but I think I was generally more flexible, but my school never emphasised these things as it was in a very small town and not professional in a serious way.


Since I recently began to be very aware of my turnout and hip muscles, I am feeling them more after class as I am concentrating on working on it all so much more at the barre. In centre, I am so concentrated on remembering the steps, that I forget to...;)

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With the right foot front it's perfect, with the left, you could drive a car through the space!

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I don't know if this'll help anyone, but one of the things my teachers used to get onto us about was the back heel. Many times, we see that there's a space and the front foot is "open" with a gap. Naturally, lots of people start to push the toes of the front foot back towards the back heel - that puts a lot of strain on the front knee and becomes a problem. One of the things our teachers would have us do that was much more stable feeling was to take the back heel, and push it forward to close the gap. It works really well compared to trying to close the front foot backwards and torquing the knee more. By moving the back heel forward, you can really feel in your rotators and thighs the extra push towards turning out - real rotation, not just in the knee. Try it and see if it helps!

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