Why are pliés so important?
The plié is the beginning barre exercise to every ballet class. It could be petite keeping the heels on the floor or grand when continuing all the way down until lifting the heels. In ballet it is the beginning of every step, a preparation for rises, jumps and pirouettes. A dancer uses it’s plié to make resistance with the floor and create tension and energy to start or end a bigger movement, it is the force for the beginning of a jump or the pillow and safe friend for the end of a grand jete.
But why do we do so many repetitions in a barre class?
Demi-plies at the beginning of class start to warm up the joints of feet, ankles, knees and hips. They help in the development of flexibility of the muscles in the lower body. Keeping your heels on the mat while bending the knees will lengthen your achilles and calves, a must do if you are often wearing heels which constrain your achilles in an unnatural position for way too long and without giving them a rest (wear trainers for the win). Plies bring awareness to alignment and balance, if done in first position (heels together toes separate) will automatically activate inner thighs and “derriere” to keep the balance.. and eh! of course, your core! Repetitions of plies in first position will give you flexibility in your hip socket joints while strengthening glutes, thighs and ankles.. And if you want to go a bit further try them in second position (feet in 45′ and wide legs) and allow your hips to open up more while sculpting your glutes and thighs.
What are the rules?
– Keep feet at a natural turn-out, NEVER force your turn out from your feet!
– Mind the alignment knees-toes, you always want your knees to fall over the toes
– Keep heels on the mat when you bend the knees to get the best stretch for your achilles and calves
– Tuck your tailbone slightly under and squeeze the glutes together when you come up standing. Think of joining the inner thighs together.
Don’t forget your upper body, you can coordinate your plies with arms while keeping the shoulders low and your core active. So many things to think about for such a small movement, keep it light and smile.. it will feel better
Bring your best plié with you at Ballet Rebels box and burn and buns and guns to see how you can develop it further!
If you liked what you read, check out Ruben’s classes!
Ruben De Monte