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[ The Five Ballet Foot Positions | Turnout | Flex & Point | Pronation & Supanation ]

There are many ways to describe the variuos foot positions. Some methods involve describing the angle or position of a single foot, while others describe the positions or angles of the feet relative to each other. The following will give you a basic understanding of the most common methods for describing the various positions of the feet.


Because they were originally outlined as positions for ballet dancers, the five foot positions are not ideally suited for the teaching of ballroom dancing. Nonetheless, they are still useful, and many ballroom teachers refer to them when training their students.

Click on the picture to see a detailed description of the foot position.

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Feet Together


Feet Apart, Side-by-Side

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Heel to Instep

Feet Apart, One Foot Forward


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Heel to Toe



"Turning Out" is the process of rotating the feet outward to an angle, so that the toes point away from each other. The angle that results between the feet is known as the degree of turnout. When the feet are held without any turnout, they are referred to as parallel.

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Fig.1 - Feet Parallel

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Fig.2 - Feet Turned Out

For Smooth and Standard style ballroom dancing, the feet are normally held parallel. Some turnout is used in very specific situations, but these situations are rare, and almost always specified in the technical breakdown of the figure.

Turnout in the Latin and Rhythm dances is recommended for the majority of situations. The desirable amount of turnout is 90 degrees, however it is not realistic for the average person to achieve this -- one should expect to have slightly less. Ballet dancers strive to achieve turnout entirely through the rotation of the legs so that the knees always point to the same angle as the toes. Latin dancers, on the other hand, will allow the feet to turn out at the ankles; Thus the knees, when bent, point straight forward in spite of the turnout of the toes.



The "rolling" of the foot toward the inside or outside edge is known as pronation and supanation, respectively. It is very important to become aware of these positions, even if you don't remember the names.

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Fig. 2-1:
Normal Position of Foot
Fig. 2-2:
Foot Pronated, or "Sickled"
Fig. 2-3:
Foot Supanated

Figure 2-1 shows the normal position of the foot. When the weight is held over the outside edge, the foot often rolls over into a "sickled" position, as shown in Figure 2-2. Sickling the foot is an undesirable position, and must be avoided at all times. In Figure 2-3, you can see the supanated position of the foot, with the inside edge to the floor. This position is used quite frequently in the Latin and Rhythm styles of ballroom dancing.


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