Updated: Oct 31, 2020
There are five main positions of the feet in ballet. We call them first, second, third, fourth and fifth position. Below I will explain the correct placement of each position.
FIRST: In this position the heels touch together. The weight is held on the little toe, big toe and heel so that the arch of the foot is lifted. There should be slightly more weight on the balls of the feet so that you can rise into demi pointe. Turn out should come from the hips and not the ankles or knees.
SECOND: The heels are now apart and the distance should be the same size as your foot. Again the rotation should come from the hips and not the ankles or knees. The weight should be placed on the big toe, little toe and heel although again there should be more weight on the balls of the feet so that you can rise into demi pointe.
THIRD: In third position the feet are now touching again, with the right foot forward and left foot behind or vice versa. The heel of the front foot should touch the arch of the back foot. The feet should be rotated from the hips and not the ankles or knees this is dependent on the level of turnout. Again the weight placement should be on the three points little toe, big toe and heel with more weight on the balls of the feet so that you can rise.
FOURTH: From third you can tendu devant (in front) to fourth position. Again this can be taken with either the right or left foot in front. In this position the feet are separated again and like second position the distance between both feet should be the length of the size of your foot. The feet should be rotated to the side and like the other positions rotation should come from the hips.
FIFTH: You can tendu into this position from second or fourth position. This position can be taken with either the left or right foot in front. In this position both feet are touching again. This position is very similar to third position however you will notice on the diagram that the heel is now touching the ball of the foot/ big toe of the foot behind rather than the arch. Again both feet are rotated to the side which is instigated from the hips rather than the feet or ankles. Weight should be placed on the big toe, little toe and heel so that the arch is lifted but slightly more weight should be on the balls of the feet so that you can rise into demi pointe.
At Balletic we follow the bbodance ballet syllabus which in turn uses the ‘Gail Grant Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet‘ for all of it‘s terminology. Diagrams may be different to what you are used to based on the school of ballet that you follow.