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The Basics of Ballet

Starting a young child in ballet class is something that most parents and children imagine from very early on. The little pink slippers, black leotards, pink tights and hair pulled into a bun are images that are burned into our memories of what ballet is. As a parent and a young dancer, it is important to also learn the fundamentals of what makes up the art of ballet so help support young dancers in their dance education.

At Dancer’s Gallery all of our ballet classes start at the barre. The barre is the long wooden railing fastened to the studio wall. Holding onto the barre make it easier for young dancers to learn the exercises. Later, students will be allowed to try the movements in the center of the room without the barre. All ballet dancers – regardless of experience level – start their ballet classes at the barre.

One of the very first things taught in our Ballet Classes in Cooper City is turnout. In the turned-out position, a dancer’s thigh bones are rotated sideways. The heels are together, and the knees and toes point in opposite directions. In the ideal turnout, the feet will form a 180-degree angle. Because it’s such an unnatural position, learning a proper turnout requires a lot of work. Young beginning dancers must achieve the turned-out position gradually, or they risk straining their knees and injuring themselves. The turnout, or first position, is the basis of classical ballet technique. All ballet movements begin and end with the five established positions of the feet — and all of those are based on the turnout.

The other positions of the feet are:

  • Second Position: It’s just like first position, with the feet turned opposite each other in a straight line, but with 12 inches (30.5 centimeters) between the heels.
  • Third Position: The feet are turned outward, with one heel in front of the other.
  • Fourth Position: The feet are turned outward. One foot is in front of and parallel to the other, spread 12 inches apart. The heels and toes point in opposite directions.
  • Fifth Position: The feet turned outward, with one foot right in front of the other and only the first joint of each big toe past the opposite heel.

At Dancer’s Gallery we strive to teach the fundamentals in order to establish a solid foundation for all of our dancers starting with our baby ballerinas.