The Body Positions of Ballet


body positions

Nine Body Positions of Ballet

As I have mentioned many times, it is very important to understand your body in space in classical ballet.

  • All shapes and lines that you make are based on the nine body positions of ballet.
  • These body positions are related to the corners on the room.
  • The corners of the room become the stage.                 common faults in dance
  • All ballet training at first, was presumed to relate to the stage.
  • Knowing your body positions is part of the ballet language.
  • Side 1 is the mirror or audience
  • Corner 6 to 2 is the most common diagonal in choreography and it travels to the right.
  • Corner 4 to 8 is the diagonal traveling to the left.

Common confusion regarding ballet terms

Here are some key points to keep clear when learning your body positions in ballet.

  • The positions of the feet are not the body positions.

     body positions
    The Five Positions of the feet in ballet + 6th position
  • Learn the body positions in tendu poses first.
  • Croisé does not mean “corner”. It means “crossed”.
  • There is more than one diagram of the corners and sides of the room. The numbering is the difference, but same end result.
  • Learn your stage directions and stage/studio numbered corners and sides before learning the names of the body positions.

Benefits of knowing the body positions

  • Your dancing will have clarity, precision and strength.
  • You will be less likely to run into fellow dancers!
  • You will show off your best “line” to the audience (mirror in a studio).
  • It will give you confidence.
  • It will be easier to learn ballet steps and combinations if you understand the language of ballet.

The names of these positions and meanings

Anytime you are facing front (side 1) , it is called “en face”. I tell my students to remember this as “face”. Your face is facing front. In French class, I remember that “en face de” meant ” in front of”. I think of it as facing the audience or in front of the audience. Key word “face”.

The positions that are en face are:
  1. à la seconde (to the side of yourself)
  2. quatriéme devant (pointing to the front of yourself)
  3. quatriéme derriére (pointing to the back of yourself)
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Body positions
The Nine Body Positions of Ballet
Top row: front (devant) poses:

Croisé devant, quatrième devant, effacé devant.

Middle row: Side (à la seconde) poses:

Écarté devant, a la seconde, écarté derriére.

Bottom row: Back (derriére) poses:

Croisé derriére, quatriéme derriére, effacé derriére.

Next time– what do all these mean and how can I make sense of them? Examples of steps with these poses that you might know!

Learn more Beginning Ballet terms and center steps in this video.beginning ballet class center

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