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Barre: Support Positions

Form and/or Function

Ballet traditionally uses five support positions of the feet. There are narrow, wide, symmetrical and assymetrical support positions which provide different expressive and movement possibilities. Some provide a good foundation for leg extensions, rises and balances; others for weight transfers, turns and jumps. At the barre some, but not necessarily all, five positions are used depending on the level and purpose of the class.

Notes on our approach


The dancers first explored shifting into different support positions on an open phrasing, in transitions lowering and rising in and out of the floor.


Starting in a neutral upright position, the dancers chose three of their favourite support positions, the first of which had to be a wide position. The positions had to be different and provide both stability and the possibility of moving through space. I was particularly excited by the choice of both Krystal and Robbie to use arm supports for this section. Also see Glossary notes on setting.


This exercise served as a preparation for pliés and deep pliés exercises, where the dancers worked with the same selection of positions.

Observation Tasks

  • Observe the different choices the dancers make for their three support positions
  • Analyse what the support is: is it narrow, wide, symmetrical or asymmetrical?
  • Observe whether the dancers are consistent in their placement and their transitions
  • What would you want them work on next?