How to Do the 5 Basic Ballet Positions

Learn how to do the five basic positions from ballerina Maegan Woodin in this Howcast ballet dance video.

My name is Maegan Woodin, and I’m a professional dancer, choreographer, teacher and student. I have danced for MTV, Diana Ross, Marc Jacobs and have appeared in many music videos. You can find more information about me and my career, as well as photos and videos, at www.dgtnyc.com. I’m going to be talking to you about ballet. The five basic positions of ballet are the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th.
So first position is when your toes are apart and your heels are squeezed directly together. A lot of people try to turn out the toes too much, and this creates stress in the knees, so follow your natural turnout line, and stand fully supported, very tall, making sure you’re not rolling onto the inside of your foot, or rolling to the outside. Make sure that your feet and your weight are directly over and centered onto your toes. And then your arms are going to be like a round beach ball, and you should have your arms directly in front of your belly button not too high and not too low so directly in front of your belly button, your chest is open and your shoulders are down and you are engaging your back, and you stand in first position.

Second position, your arms and legs are out to the side, and you actually want to gauge the length of your second position by putting one toe next to your heel, then opening it up, and then extending it a little further. you shouldn’t have too wide a second position, or too narrow, because you wont be fully supported when you’re moving around in that position. Second position arms are rounded and slightly forward, you dont want to throw your arms too far back, so keep them nice, round, and forward, and that’s second position.

Third position is used on a very basic level. It is when you are practicing to get to fifth position. You want to put your heel in the centre of your foot, and stand with both feet firmly on the ground, feet turned out. Your arms are going to come one high above your head and one directly to the side. Make sure that both arms are rounded and that your chest is lifted and your neck is long.

Fourth position, your leg comes out, and your heel is going to try to become in front of that toe, and your arm is going to be coming in front of your belly button. We want to make sure that your fourth position is not too wide, just like second position, and not too narrow. You want to have a pretty narrow fourth position, which will help you when you do turns in the centre.
Fifth position, both arms are up very high, and your chest is open, shoulders down, and your feet and heels are going to be connected. You don’t want to try to squeeze your turnout and make both feet and heels connected fully, you want to follow the natural line of your turnout, and make sure that when you pliet, your knees are going directly over your toes.

So standing in fifth position, your arms are going to go all the way up, like this, and thats high fifth, and then low fifth, your arms are down here.