Step-by-Step Body Alignment

01
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Perfect Body Alignment

Correct alignment
Correct alignment. Photo © Tracy Wicklund

Correct body alignment is essential for ballet. Often referred to as placement, alignment is one of the first things you'll learn. Let's start with the feet and work our way up the body:

  • Your weight should be distributed between both feet. Keep all ten toes on the floor. Do not allow the ankles to roll inward or outward.
  • Your knees should be directly over your toes.
  • Turn your legs out at the hips. Keep your knees straight.
  • Align your hips with the center of your feet.
  • Pull your shoulders down, keeping them wide and flat.
  • Hold your torso slightly forward.
  • Lift your chest. Do not allow your ribs to stick out.
  • Relax your neck, holding your chin up.
02
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Incorrect Pelvis Placement

Incorrect pelvis
Incorrect pelvis. Photo © Tracy Wicklund

This illustration is an example of incorrect body alignment for ballet.

  • Do not allow your pelvis to tuck underneath and protrude forward.
  • Hold your shoulders up and back.
  • Keep your knees straight and in line with the toes.
  • Hold your chin up.
03
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Incorrect Chest Placement

Incorrect chest placement
Incorrect chest placement. Photo © Tracy Wicklund

This illustration is an example of incorrect body alignment for ballet.

  • Do not let your pelvis tilt backward when you lift your chest.
  • Lifting the chest does not mean protruding your ribs.
  • Keep your bottom tucked under.
04
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Correct Lift (Pull-Up)

Correct lift
Correct lift. Photo © Tracy Wicklund

Properly lifting the body involves pulling the body forward as well as upward.

  • Correct lift (pull-up) involves a constant mental awareness of the feet, calves, thighs, buttocks and abdominals.
05
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Sinking Hip

Sinking hip
Sinking hip. Photo © Tracy Wicklund

This is an example of incorrect alignment in ballet.

  • Do not sink into your supporting hip.
  • You must hold your torso up straight and tall.
06
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Properly Pointed Foot

Proper point
Proper point. Photo © Tracy Wicklund

A properly pointed foot should not be sickled inward or winged outward. Always keep the big toe aligned with the ankle.

07
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Sickled Foot

Sickled foot
Sickled foot. Photo © Tracy Wicklund

This is an example of a sickled foot in ballet.

  • When pointing your foot, never allow the big toe to point inward.
  • Your weight must never rest on the little toe, but must be spread evenly among all of the toes on the foot.
08
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Winged Foot

Winged foot
Winged foot. Photo © Tracy Wicklund

This is an example of a winged foot in ballet.

  • When pointing the foot, never allow the big toe to become lazy and point outward.
  • Remember to hold the ankle up, always aligned with the big toe.
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Your Citation
Bedinghaus, Treva. "Step-by-Step Body Alignment." ThoughtCo, Mar. 27, 2017, thoughtco.com/step-by-step-body-alignment-1007100. Bedinghaus, Treva. (2017, March 27). Step-by-Step Body Alignment. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/step-by-step-body-alignment-1007100 Bedinghaus, Treva. "Step-by-Step Body Alignment." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/step-by-step-body-alignment-1007100 (accessed November 24, 2017).