Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers to close ×
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Using a Shallow Plie


Recommended Posts

Does anybody have any advice for maximizing (in terms of using, not going deeper) a shallow plie? My problem is exacerbated by the fact that my lower legs are very muscular and my calves seem to get in their own way in 5th position.

I realize a plie in fifth will be somewhat shallower than one in first, but mine is ridiculous!

Link to comment

I am not 100% sure of what you want. But here is a very good advice one of my teachers always make us to do: exhale on the "down" and inhale on the "up". (It is nothing fancy and probably your teachers have enforced that already.) To me it gave a whole deeper meaning and posture in my pliés.

Link to comment
  • Administrators

dido, the exhale Susanne mentions helps because it tends to relax the plié. I also use demi plié with a "pulse" action to help the students feel the usage of the plié. This is simply plié and plié and plié with only a level change and not full straightening between. I usually do 3 pulses and then straighten, if doing the exercise by itself. If using it with something else, like little sautés or changements, or maybe relevés to pointe then I generally do two pulses and the jump or relevé. Besides relaxing the plié for better usage, it also encourages keeping the heels down. :thumbsup:

Link to comment

Actually, I'm usually okay for plies by themselves at the barre, by concentrating on my breathing and placement and all my demi in 5th is okay, the front heel wants to pop up, but it's reasonably springy and I feel like I'm "using" it.


The problem comes when I want to do anything else. Even if it's just a sloooow tendu with plie combination at the barre I seem to lose everything but the bent knees that makes a plie a plie, and of course it just gets worse once things move on.


I'm going to try those pulses, but I wondered if there was any imagery or anatomy floating around that I could use once I'm not focused totally on plie. I don't think it's a question of relaxing, because I'm usually so busy trying to get the right steps in the right order that I couldn't possibly be worried about my plie. Maybe that's the problem. :)

Link to comment

It could actually be that you relax too much in this plié! A plié is not an action without sense... It will help in all sorts of things... So, yes, it's a relaxing notion, but at the same time, you shouldn't 'flop' down and up again (time and time again, that's what I repeat to my students :rolleyes: Use the WHOLE music to plié)


Try and think of an elastic band. The top of the elastic band (your head) is attached to the ceiling, and the bottom of the elastic band (your feet) is stuck to the floor. As a result, you have a 2 way movement (up and down at the same time). While you do go down as much as possible, you try and 'retain' the movement up for as long as the music will allow. The plié will be softer and prepare you for jumps and quicker steps. :wink:

Link to comment

Move your knees to the side. That is the essence of plie and maximizing its use. If you do that in the center as well as at the barre, you'll find that your plies are still plies.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...