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How Many Positions Are There In Ballet

How Many Positions Are There In Ballet

Ever dreamt of Ballet? Ready to start? This article’s for you! We’ll discuss the positions and how to master ’em. One step away from dreams coming true – don’t hesitate! Get ready to make Ballet your reality.


For centuries, Ballet has entranced people. But how many ballet positions are there? Five! Each one has a special way of placing the feet, arms, and head. These five positions are the basis of ballet technique. They are used in practice and performance. Here they are:

  1. First position: feet together, toes pointing out.
  2. Second position: feet shoulder-width apart, toes out.
  3. Third position: one foot in front, heel touching the arch of the back foot.
  4. Fourth position: one foot in front, one foot apart.
  5. Fifth position: feet crossed, heel of one foot in front of toe of the other.

These positions look easy, but perfect alignment and detail is needed. Knowing and practicing them gives a strong foundation for more difficult ballet moves.

History of Ballet

Ballet is a dance form that began in the 15th century in Italian courts, then spread across Europe. It became very technical with graceful movements, exact footwork, and complex hand motions. There are many movements and poses in ballet, but the five basic positions are the foundation.

The positions are:

  1. 1st: Heels together, toes turned out.
  2. 2nd: Feet apart, toes out.
  3. 3rd: One foot in front of the other, heel touching the middle.
  4. 4th: One foot in front of the other, gap of one foot between heels.
  5. 5th: One foot in front of the other, heel of front foot touching toe of back foot.

Learning these positions is necessary to master ballet.

Types of Ballet Positions

Ballet positions can be divided into two groups: basic and traveling.

The five basic positions are:

  1. First Position – Heels together, toes out.
  2. Second Position – Feet form a V shape, heels apart.
  3. Third Position – One foot in front of the other, heel touching the middle of the other foot.
  4. Fourth Position – One foot in front of the other, one foot between them.
  5. Fifth Position – One foot in front of the other, heel touching toe of opposite foot.

Traveling positions involve movement across the stage, such as:

  • Piqué – Step onto the tip of the foot, then back down.
  • Chassé – Glide one foot to the side, then switch.
  • Jeté – Jump off one foot and land on the other.

These ballet positions offer endless possibilities for graceful, expressive dancing!

Ballet Positions for Beginners

Ballet has five base positions, each with a distinct placement of feet, legs, arms, and torso. These positions form the basis for all ballet movements, from easy to complex. Let’s look at each one:

  1. First position: Heels together, toes in a V-shape.
  2. Second position: Feet apart, toes outward.
  3. Third position: Heel of one foot at arch of other.
  4. Fourth position: Like third, but feet slightly apart.
  5. Fifth position: One foot in front, heel of front foot against toe of back one.

Regularly practicing these positions improves balance, flexibility, and control of ballet movements.

Ballet Positions for Advanced Dancers

Ballet has five main positions that are essential for many steps and movements. Advanced dancers learn more, which require extra flexibility, balance, and control. Here are some of them:

  • Arabesque: Balance on one leg and lift and extend the other behind you. Stretch the torso forward and put arms out or to the sides.
  • Attitude: Balance on one leg, turn and lift the other behind you. The foot should be up to the knee. Arms can be to the sides or above.
  • Pirouette: Also called turn. Rotate on one foot with the other close to the ankle. Arms move in a circle.
  • Grand Battement: Lift and extend one leg in the air, keeping the torso and other leg stable. Leg is lifted to hip-level or higher.

It takes years to master these positions. They can take your performance to the next level.

Pro tip: Work on the basics of ballet before attempting advanced positions. Building strength and flexibility takes time and patience. Don’t rush it!

Ballet Position Terminology

Ballet has five key positions. Each has its own foot placement and arm placements. Here’s a look at the ballet positions and their names:

  1. First: Heels together, toes out. Arms in front of your body.
  2. Second: Feet hip-width apart, toes out. Arms to either side.
  3. Third: One foot in front of the other, heel to arch. Arms in front.
  4. Fourth: One foot in front of the other, a foot’s distance between heels. Arms to one side.
  5. Fifth: Cross one foot in front of the other, heel to toe. Arms up overhead.

Remember: Straight posture, engaged core, graceful, controlled movements.

Benefits of Ballet Positions

Ballet positions are vital to the classic ballet lexicon. They present a formalized way to demonstrate movements and emotions on stage. There are five positions with their own rewards for strength, flexibility, and posture.

First position is standing with heels together and toes out. It’s the source of all other positions and helps arrange the legs and hips.

Second position is standing with feet spread and toes out. This builds power in the core and legs while helping balance and stability.

Third position has one foot in front of the other, heel touching the middle of the back foot. This assists with turnout, balance, and control.

Fourth position is one foot in front of the other, wider than third position. This enhances flexibility, balance, and strength.

Fifth position puts one foot in front of the other, heel touching the toe of the back foot. It strengthens ankles and feet, improving turnout and balance.

Practicing positions regularly helps maintain posture, heighten body awareness, and promote physical fitness.


To sum up, the amount of positions in ballet varies depending on the type of ballet being taught. For instance, the Cecchetti method has seven positions, while the Vaganova method only has five.

Nevertheless, most ballet styles recognize the five fundamental positions with the feet as the basis for all other ballet steps. The arms also have specific postures that match each foot position.

If you’re a professional dancer, a ballet student, or a dance lover, it is crucial to know and practice the basic positions of ballet for mastering the correct technique and shape.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How many positions are there in ballet?

A: There are five basic positions in ballet: first, second, third, fourth, and fifth.

Q: What is the difference between the five positions in ballet?

A: The positioning of the feet and arms differ in each of the five basic positions in ballet, allowing for a wide variety of movements.

Q: Are there any other positions in ballet besides the five basic ones?

A: There are various other positions and movements in ballet, but the five basic positions serve as the foundation for most ballet techniques.

Q: Do ballet dancers always start in first position?

A: No, ballet dancers may start in any of the five basic positions or in a range of other positions and movements, depending on the choreography of the performance.

Q: Do different styles of ballet have different positions?

A: While the five basic positions are universal across most styles of ballet, some styles or techniques may emphasize certain positions or modifiers to positions.

Q: How important are these positions in learning ballet?

A: The five basic positions are foundational to learning and performing ballet, and are typically among the first techniques taught to beginner dancers.