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  • Writer's picture Alison Hollingsworth

Classical Arm Positions as per Agrippina Vaganova

In Vaganova, Russian, technique there are only three major positions of the arms in addition to the starting position of preparatory position. All other positions of the arms are a variation of these three. They are first, second and third. In first position the arms are curved as if holding a ball about the height of your solar plexus. Hand facing inward and close together but not touching. In second position the arms are open to the side with a slight bend to the elbow, elbow facing behind you, and hands well held. You want to make sure your shoulder is not raised and that the hand and elbows are lower than the shoulder. In third position the arms are similar to first except that they are overhead. You should be able to see your hands in your peripheral vision. If you cannot then your hands are too far back which will effect your placement. Holding hands over your hairline is a good marking spot. Please see the photo below for examples of the basic positions. In Vaganova we do not have fourth position nor fifth position of the arms. We do have Petite Pose (small pose) where one arm is in first and one is in second and Grand Pose (big pose) where one are is in third and one is in second.

It is useful to note that RAD, Cecchetti, etc do have similar positions but different terms for them. Ballet Arts & Fitness is a Vaganova based studio so we do follow the basic arm positions. So now you can practice these three basic positions and all of their variations during your holiday break! Maybe throw a few relevés in there too!

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