Positions: Third Position Basics

Third Position Basics in BalletThird position in classical ballet technique is a bit of an odd position, only because it isn’t often used in class or choreography.  The reason for this is likely because the position of your feet are in between a proper first position and fifth position.  Since ballet is all about exactness, hitting a proper third position could sometimes look like a poor fifth or first position.

  • Like all the other positions, the toes of both feet should face away from your body.
  • The heel of the front foot is placed in the middle of the back one.
  • When standing in third, both knees are likely to be visible.

Many professional dancers also feel that third position doesn’t allow for much function because it doesn’t fully engage the inside leg muscles as well as fifth position.  Working from a correct fifth position, as opposed to third, aligns and centers the dancer better as well as allowing for more power and stability for the majority of ballet technique.

Where You May See Third Position in Ballet

Having said that, you may still see third position in character dances in classical ballets.  Also, as a personal style, some male dancers prefer to bow in third position and often with a bent front leg.

Other than that, third position of the feet in classical ballet is not used very often, even though its name would suggest otherwise being in the middle of all the other common positions.  Still, it is an important position to know about.