Five positions of the feet.
There are five basic positions of the feet in classical ballet, and every step or movement is begun and ended in one or another of these positions, which were established by Pierre Beauchamp, maître de ballet of the Académie Royale de Musique et de Danse from 1671 to 1687.
First position (Première position):
In this position the feet form one line, heels touching one another.
Second position (Seconde position):
The feet are on the same line but with a distance of about one foot between the heels.
Third position (Troisième position):
In the third position one foot is in front of the other, heels touching the middle of the other foot.
Fourth position (Quatrième position):
In the fourth position the placement of the feet is similar to that in the third position, the feet being parallel and separated by the length of one foot. This is the classical fourth position but it may also be done with the feet in the first position, only separated by the space of one foot.
The former is known as quatrième position croisée (crossed fourth position), while the latter is called quatrième position ouverte (open fourth position).
Today quatrième position croisée is done with the feet placed as in the fifth position, parallel and separated by the length of one foot, instead of the third position.
Fifth position (Cinquième position):
In the fifth position, Cecchetti method, the feet are crossed so that the first joint of the big toe shows beyond either heel.
In the French and Russian Schools the feet are completely crossed so that the heel of the front foot touches the toe of the back foot and vice versa.