One foot is placed in front of, and in contact with the other, with the heel of one foot aligned with the toe of the other foot.


Fifth position of the feet should be a classical dancer’s most natural state of being.  You should work continually to make the position feel more comfortable. I like to call 5th position ‘home’ – a place where you are most relaxed.  It is obvious that some dancers have more turnout to hold this position, however, you can train your turn out muscles to hold your maximum turnout.  Try standing correctly in 5th position with your hips square to the front, more often and for longer.

Here are a few tips that will be useful when standing in 5th position on flat;

  • Squeeze both knees together and be sure to aim for no gap where your two legs meet at the knees.  If this is  difficult due to the shape of your legs, you can still work to reduce the size of the gap between your knees.  Squeezing the two knees together with beautifully engaged legs will activate the turn out muscles at the tops of the legs and the vmo’s (vastus medialis oblique).
  • Work to straighten the front leg completely, a bent or softened front knee will manifest itself in other technical problems.
  • Aim to draw the back heel in to meet the front foot’s little toe.  Visualise showing the back heel to the audience.
  • A perfect 5th position on flat is heel to toe and toe to heel.
  • Open the hips from your centre front around to your centre back.  Opening the pages of a book at it’s centre point can be helpful imagery to use.
  • It is best to lift out of your hips, in an effort to make space between the hips and the bottom of the ribs.
  • Be aware not to roll on the front foot, on the contrary, pick up the instep, in doing so you will activate the inside thigh on that same leg.
  • Heels en avant!!!!

5th en flat from side


Fifth position en pointe can be one of the most visually stunning positions in ballet.  It is relatively easier to achieve an aesthetically beautiful 5th position en pointe than 5th position on flat.  So, there’s the good news!  When you are in 5th position en pointe, the audience should really only see your front leg, which means the position needs to be really crossed from the top of your legs right down to your ankle, like one long line of energy.  The other part of your body that should be showing from an audience perspective is your back heel.  So now there are two things showing from the front – the whole of your front leg, and the heel of your back leg.

An undercrossed 5th position en pointe results in a very messy or unfinished look, which can be particularly prevalent in students.  This is an area that can be easily achieved when setting the foundations of good technique en pointe.

Just like 5th position on flat, try to squeeze your knees together en pointe, which will help you balance and achieve that effortless look.  If you practice using your turn out muscles and the vmo muscles consistently, the repetition will train your body to remain perfectly still en pointe, without boureeing.


Written by;  Vicki Attard

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