How to Correct The 5 Basic Ballet Positions | by Ren Yi

Hello I’m Ren Yi! Today I want to share what is the right way to stand in ballet. What are the details that people miss in their ballet class? Please wear anything comfortable and casual and follow me. Let’s start!

So today we discuss about 5 things: head, shoulders, body, pelvis, and our feet position. Feet position here is about how you stand on your feet, and how you can find the balance on your feet, so we are not talking about the ballet feet position.

1. Head

Let’s start from the head first. The head is sitting on your neck. So sitting means this is your neck, this is your joint which is connected with your head, so the head actually is sitting on it. So I want to share this with you is because I saw students and dancers do this (protrude chin forward) or that (retract chin backward), so you can’t really tell them how to find their middle line of your head feeling sitting on your spine. So this is very important for a dancer.

2. Shoulders

And second, we discuss about the shoulders. In ballet, we try to open our shoulders. Open means you stretch this part (upper front chest), then make sure this part of the muscle line and the behind part of the muscle, they are the same length. This is the feeling, so this is imagination. They are the same length so you have to open this part of your shoulders (your chest). So try to feel you have wings behind, it starts from the shoulder blade so the wings begins are stretched and spread that way (outwards) to the side. So if I want to say how my shoulders are my placed, the shoulders are actually in the middle line of the sewing line on the (side of the) clothes. So if you want to try to feel that, this is the feeling

3. Body

I would say the body would have to be square. You have 4 points (as part of this square on the front of your body): 2 shoulder (left and right joints) and 2 pelvis (left and right joints). These 4 joints you need to square it. How can we square it? You stand straight, it’s a square. But actually some people are doing that (e.g. lean body to the left), or some people are doing that (e.g. lean body to the right), or lean/stretch forward, or behind. So you feel the balance such that you’re really like a “card”. So when I talk to my students I would say, use a magic pen and draw a line here and here and here and here... so this is a square, you draw a magic square here. So this is about the body.

4. Pelvis

Then the next one, number four, is about the pelvis. Just imagine, the pelvis is very very important for us in your dance and movement. The pelvis bones are like this, so the pelvis should be straight. I will tell my students that the pelvis is like a bowl, so you fill in water, so it is straight (level), the feeling is that you are holding the water and you don’t want to let the water still out. So the pelvis you are not tilting front, behind, or to the sides. So the pelvis stays straight and balanced. This is the feeling of the pelvis.

5. Feet position

Let’s move down to the feet. So the last, not least, is talking about our feet. How do our feet stand on the floor and contact the flier and feel it. So you have to find 3 points on the feet: 1 (metatarsal underside of big toe), 2 (metatarsal underside of little toe), and 3 (underside of heel). These 3 points you have to really have to (contact) the floor when you stand. This means the feet you aren’t rolling. What does rolling mean? Rolling means this... so you roll your feet (e.g. roll ankle outwards), or roll in front, or some people are rolling behind. So in ballet it’s very important, we are not giving a lot of chance for our ankles to have a lot of flexibility, because once you’re on pointe it doesn’t allow you to do it, and it would cause a lot of injuries if your ankle is not stable. So in basic training we just tell students not to do that, even wobbling. So when you stand you feel that we have a have little bridge under our feet, no matter whether you have flat feet or you’re not, you always can find a little arch under the feet. So the little arch always needs to show when you stand. The toes are straight, contact the floor, and relax. Because some students when they feel nervous or when they want to find more balance, they clench their toes. So you really need to stretch it and stand on it. These are the basics when you dance any art form in any area, you need to stand on it.

So, when you and your body understands all of this, you stand to feel that, and the weight balance is in the midline of the body between the feet. And for ballet, just a small tip, actually we shift a little bit in front; the feeling is your heels are light, as though you are not putting weight on heels when you stand. This is because of the technique and art form. So we shift the weight a little bit onto the metatarsals here on the front (of the feet).

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