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The Art of Ballet Arms: How Your Hands and Arms Finish the Line

Ballet is a beautiful form of dance that requires precision, grace, and attention to detail. At Nan’s School of Dance, we believe that one of the most important elements of ballet is the position of the arm and the hands, which not only adds elegance to the movements but also helps to enhance the overall performance by finishing the line. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the art of ballet arms and how they can transform a dancer’s performance.

What Are Ballet Arms?

Ballet hands and arms are often referred to as the “port de bras,” which translates to “carriage of the arms.” This is a fundamental aspect of ballet that requires careful attention to detail. The position of the hands and arms can help to:

  • elongate the line of the body
  • create beautiful shapes
  • add fluidity to movements

First Position

The basic position for ballet arms involves holding the arms in a gentle curve, with the fingers softly extended and the wrists relaxed. This position is often referred to as the “first position” and serves as the foundation for all other hand positions in ballet.

Second Position

As dancers progress in their training, they will learn a variety of hand and arm positions that can be used to create different shapes and lines. For example, the “second position” involves extending the arms out to the sides, while the “third position” involves holding one arm out to the side while the other is curved in front of the body.

Fourth Position

Perhaps one of the most recognizable hand/arm positions in ballet is the “fourth position,” which involves holding one arm out to the side while the other arm is curved above the head. This position can create a stunning line and is often used in grand entrances and exits.

Fifth Position

Another important hand/arm position in ballet is the “fifth position,” which involves holding both arms above the head in a graceful curve. This position is often used to create a sense of grandeur and elegance, particularly in classical ballet.


In addition to the specific hand and arm positions, ballet dancers must also pay careful attention to the way they transition between positions. Smooth and fluid movements can help to enhance the overall performance and make the dancer appear more graceful and effortless.

Transforming a Performance

While the art of ballet arms may seem small in comparison to the larger movements and choreography, it is a crucial aspect of the dance form. The careful attention to detail and precision required for proper hand and arm positions can truly transform a dancer’s performance and elevate it to a whole new level of beauty and elegance.

In conclusion, the art of ballet arms is an essential aspect of ballet that requires careful attention to detail and precision. By mastering the various positions and transitioning between them with grace and fluidity, dancers can create stunning lines and enhance the overall beauty of their performances. Whether you’re a seasoned ballet dancer or a newcomer to the art form, paying attention to the position of your hands and arms is an important part of mastering the art of ballet.

Want to Read More About Dance?

Take a look at some of our other articles about dance.

Why Nan’s School of Dance?

At Nan’s School of Dance, our goal is to provide top-quality instruction at a competitive price. We encourage our students to reach technical proficiency in their favorite dance form and build self-discipline, poise, and self-esteem. We offer instruction in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Acro, and Pre-Dance, at all levels.

We love having new members in our dance classes and will help get your child acclimated to our dance school to make them feel right at home. When your child attends Nan’s School of Dance, they will become a part of our dance family and share in our love for dance!

Don’t Forget to Register!

From ballet to hip hop, we offer dance classes for ALL ages and skill levels in a variety of styles. We place students in classes that will challenge them while offering a fun atmosphere for learning and growth. We also offer Mommy & Me classes, (18 months – 2.5 years). Register online or give us a call at 919-803-6044 to hold your spot!

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