Updated: Apr 16, 2020
In classical dance, there is little use of sharp positions. Almost always the head is at an intermediate moment, resulting from a combination of positions.
We will define in this chapter only the base positions; Movements accompanying the dance steps will be described with these.
The head en face ( tete en face) is typical in everyday life.
in classical dance it is with the low shoulders, the chin slightly raised, to clear the neckline.
It was very much in honor in the 17th century, for the "entrances" of the ballets.
The profile is obtained by rotating the head to the right or left.
A light profile is often used. The total profile can be found in character dances
(Prince Igor, choreography by FOKINE) or for the search for certain artistic or aesthetic effects (Concertante Symphony, choreography by Mr. DESCOMBEY).
The profile is currently a frequently used position for many steps.
The head leaning forward ( Tete penchee en avant) has various usage.
This position is frequently found at the start of an adage or Romantic Variation. It can also be found as an expression of various feelings.
The head leaning back, ( tete penchee en arriere) used in several exercises involving a cambre is infrequent on stage. It can be found, however, at the end of pirouettes with partner finished with the back to the audience by cambre (adage of the Mirages, choreography by S. LIFAR), or for particular expressions: variation of Helen looking at themselves in the mirror (Ballet of Faust, choreography by A. AVELIN).
The profile head leaning back ( tete de profil penchee en arriere) is for specific purposes. It is of an infrequent use in ballets, however, it is sometimes found in stylized dances: the warriors of the Creatures of Prometheus (choreography by S. LIFAR),
Greek dances by Daphnis and Chloe (choreography by FOKINE), etc.
Sources: Grammaire de la danse Classique, Germaine Prudhommeau and Genevieve Guillot. Librairie Hachette 1969