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Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Basic Positions of the Arms in Ballet Dancing

Just as there are basic positions of the feet in ballet dancing, the arms are just as important and they too have basic positions which are learned during ballet training.  Beautiful arm lines in ballet are just as important as turnout, as the look of ballet dancing can be totally ruined by misplaced or ugly arms.  The carraige of the arms is called Port de Bras in ballet dancing french terms.  There should be no strain showing in the arms or hands while a ballet dancer is dancing.  There is always a natural curve in the arms with no sharp angles showing. The middle finger acts as a natural extension of your arm line and the fingers should never point or  stiffen.

There are slight variations of the arms in all the different classical ballet methods, but the positions below are the most recognised in classical ballet dancing.

Bras Bas:
In this position the baby fingers are just touching or slightly away from the upper thigh. The arms are curved with the fingers slightly apart and the hands not touching. The elbows are supported, but not angular and the shape is oval. This is the most used position in ballet dancing and it usually precedes all the movements at the barre or in centre practise.

First Position of the Arms:
The ballet dancer holds her arms lightly curved downwards from the shoulders with the fingers held a few centimeters apart making a natural rounded shape from the shoulders.  Dancers must be careful of holding the arms too high.  Elbows must remain supported throughout all of the arm movements.


Second Position of the Arms:
Your arms should be held out to the side in a natural sloping line from the shoulders. The curve must stay soft with a feeling of continuing length rather than stretching out. Take care not to drop the elbows in second positon.

Third Position of the Arms:
Your one arm is in first position, and the other is in second. Arms should remain below the shoulders and take care once again to support your elbows.

Fourth Position of the Arms:
One arm will remain in second position, and the other is raised above the head in a natural curve with the hand held softly.

Fifth Position of the Arms:
Both arms are raised in a curved and lengthened position above the head, and the hands remain a few inches apart. The dancer should take care not to lift the shoulders.  Another thing to try and avoid in this position is arching of the back or letting the chest flop outwards.

In all the arm positions, there must be a smooth line as the arms continue through the hand right through to the sensitivity in the fingers.
The carriage of the head, neck and shoulders are also very important to achieve the overall noble bearing and creating an all over harmonious picture. Eye line is also important and should express what the dancer is trying to show and her inner feeling.


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