Positions: Fourth Position Basics

Fourth Position Basics in Classical Ballet TechniqueFourth position in classical ballet technique is a position where basically the dancers legs are both turned out equally, toes pointing away from the body, one leg directly in front of the other, about a foot and a half apart.  It is most commonly used as a preparation for pirouettes.

Fourth Position in Ballet

Fourth Position Basics in BalletPracticing a good fourth position can build your overall strength and set you up well to do many other more advanced steps in ballet.  Here is a basic look at fourth position:

  1. The distance of your feet should be no less than one foot but no more than one and a half feet apart.
  2. One foot should be directly in front of the other.  With the heel of the front foot in line with the toes of the back.
  3. Your feet and legs should be equally turned out, away from your body.

Things to Avoid in Fourth Position

Since fourth position is most commonly used as a preparation, a poor fourth position will only make it harder to do other more advanced steps.  With that in mind, you always want to make sure your fourth position isn’t working against you.  Here are some things to avoid in fourth position:

  1. Try to keep your weight centered and balanced equally between your legs, not favoring one or the other.
  2. Try to maintain your hip position square to your front, not twisting to accommodate trying to keep your feet turned out.
  3. Make sure to hold your turn out from your hips, not your knees or ankles.
  4. As with all positions, make sure you don’t roll your feet over your arches to try to achieve more turnout.  Try to keep your whole foot on the floor.
  5. Pay attention to the distance of your feet.  A fourth position that is too wide isn’t very helpful, and one that is too narrow looks more like a poor fifth.