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Arms in Cecchetti's "Spanish fourth" position

There are two basic positions of the arms in ballet. In one, the dancer keeps the fingers of both arms fully touching to form an oval shape, either almost touching the hips, or at navel level, or raised above the dancer's head. In the other, the arms are extended to the sides with the elbows slightly bent. These positions may be combined to give other positions.

Names differ according to the school/method followed, such as Vaganova, French, Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), Cecchetti, etc. of the arms; the corresponding allongés positions are obtained by stretching the elbows and rotating the palms of the hands downwards.

Vaganova or Russian school:[1]

Combinations of the basic arm positions are called:

These are used mainly in the center.

French school and Royal Academy of Dance:

Cecchetti method:


  1. ^ Vaganova, Agrippina; Chujoy, Anatole (1969). Basic Principles of Classical Ballet: Russian Ballet Technique. Dover Publications Inc. p. 42. ISBN 9780486121055.

See also