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paxaman0

Five Feet Positions!

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paxaman0

Hey all, quick question here. I just started learning the five foot positions. What advice do you have for me in terms of the third position (where you move your foot backward and whatnot).

 

I'm assuming you just have to practice it day and night? For me, some of those positions definitely don't feel normal.

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Willimus

Hi:

I am not exactly sure what you mean about moving your foot backward in third position, but what I can say is...if you are an adult beginner, nothing will feel "normal" because it simply isn't "normal". It should not, however, feel painful.

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paxaman0

Sorry for the confusion haha I'm trying to explain it best I know how. Basically first position and second position were pretty easy. We were practicing at the barre. First position was where the feet were spread at like a 90 degree angle, second position my foot moved forward in line with my other foot and yet pointing at a curved angle (Somewhat like a tendu') and for the third position she had me move my right foot backwards while keeping my hips straight and my body tall. *I'm working off of memory as best as I know how lol, so I may not be 100% accurate.* Basically I had to keep my hips forward and center facing the barre the whole time, and all energy was spent focusing on footwork.

 

It wasn't painful, I just wasn't sure that I should be locking me leg out. Sorry for the confusion.

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GTLS Designs

paxaman0, it is wonderful that you are getting such personalized attention - I'm sure that this can feel overwhelming at times! There are so many body positions, leg shapes, pointed feet, and feet rotated outward. As Willimus mentions, ballet does not feel normal.... where you need to be concerned is if it is also painful.

 

Now, I am not entirely sure of your question. 3rd position of the feet is, well, a position. Your body/legs/feet will move in & out of this position multiple times within any class. As teachers, we use 3rd position in the more beginning levels of ballet - in this position, lesser experienced dancers have an easier time maintaining the proper rotation of the leg without rolling in the feet. Please note that the rotation of the leg in 1st & 2nd position is the same rotation of the leg in 3rd, 4th, & 5th, the only difference is that your legs are now crossed.

 

It also appears that your teacher is taking a good deal of time to introduce each position. I'll admit that I go through all 5 positions in the first 15 minutes with any of my brand new ballet dancers.... In my opinion, it is the fastest way to impart knowledge on beginners, where they can feel like they left class "knowing something." All teachers have different approaches, so I'm sure your teacher wants your body to understand proper rotation of the legs before moving onto the next position... It is great that this teacher cares enough for you to learn things properly!

 

I hope this answered part of your question - if not, try again?

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seajays

It sounds like you're describing fourth position actually.

 

First is heels together as you say with feet angled out. Second is feet at the same angle as first, but standing shoulder width apart. Third brings the feet together with the front heel about halfway along the back foot, then fourth like third, but with a "step" between them, finally fifth heel of front foot to toe of back. If you google "ballet foot positions" there are diagrams online that show it much easier than in words.

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paxaman0

Sorry for the late reply, actually been busy with school and dancing! >.< But yah I practiced it again, and the way she had it was that third position was where I move my foot outwards (not necessarily back) but certainly behind me. My teacher is taking some time to ensure that I know the 5 positions really well.

 

I hope this doesn't sound like an ignorant question but are there different types of ballet like there are different types of karate? So... could I be learning the 5 positions a little differently, than say somebody down in Russia or whatnot? Or is it maybe that just her teaching styles vary slightly? *Unsure*

 

Yah I guess that is what I am really struggling with. That rotation of the leg is so weird for me.... I've been working on it for a while but it's hard for me to feel exactly how far I should rotate my leg and whatnot.

 

But on a side note I've started working on jumping and that's going splendidly! I think I'm really starting to get down this whole "move with the music thing!"

 

Again, sorry about the late reply, school has been crazy.

Edited by GTLS Designs
deleted full quote

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GTLS Designs

The 5 positions of the feet are the same no matter where/how you learn them. Yes, there are lots of methods and styles of ballet (Vaganova, Cecchetti, RAD), but all of them use the same positions of the feet. The differences between the styles are subtle - worth reading about on other threads on this site.

 

The eventual goal of outward rotated legs is: 90* per leg or 180* in a 1st position. However many people do not have this naturally, so many teachers will allow their students to use a lesser degree (like 75* degrees per leg). With that said, Vaganova/Russian styled ballet classes tend to want their dancers to stand at 90/180* in the belief that the dancers eventually develop the ability/strength to maintain that position.

 

As has been stated many times on this site - there are many roads to Rome. Each teacher/dancer/person has their own approach, which is what makes ballet so interesting and wonderful.

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paxaman0

Ah thank you! I've been working on improving my turnout, and she said it is getting better, so that is a positive sign. I've just started working on jumping too which is fun. It is way different than I imagined it in any way shape or form.

 

If I remember right, she told me to keep my foot curved when I am jumping and of course to jump in time with the music. (I'm getting better at both of these.) I just found a studio near me that will take me in as a beginner so I'm going to go visit them tomorrow I think. I'll keep you updated.

 

**Again, sorry if I do not explain everything properly, sometimes with something physical like ballet words can only go so far.**

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MJ

Google for images of the 5 (6?) positions.

 

Arms can also have positions. Much more complicated and the Russian, Italian, French, Danish, and American have their own interpretations.

 

Enjoy the education and have fun!

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Mel Johnson

Not to worry too much about the number of positions. Everybody agrees that there are at least five. There was one system set up by Serge Lifar that argued for as many as eight, but the last three were just first, second, and fourth done "neutral" - that is, without turnout. And in classical ballet, third is mostly used loosely, just standing around on the sidelines in Sleeping Beauty or Giselle, say. And don't worry about the arm positions - They are not inextricably connected to the foot positions. It's mix n' match all the way, but it is easier, especially with young students to teach them as if they do go together.

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paxaman0

Thanks, mastered most of these already and have started on jumping and proper knee work. It's going very well!

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