February Focus- Plie'

We, as dancers, live our lives in demi plie. This is the concept we chose for the month of February, but it really could  be the theme of the year with all that plie provides to our movement. The definition of Plie is to bend but that does not do the plie justice. Plie is a stretch that needs to be worked through but more importantly it needs to be strengthened. The pelvis, the hip flexors, the quads, the glutes, the lower leg, the feet, and of course the abs, are all factors in using the plie properly.  Otherwise we can’t jump , turn, travel or shift.

We started each class with awareness of the plie. Begin in a deep grand plie 2nd and hold. Then lift the arches to a strong forced arch position and hold. We then repeated the exercise from 1st position demi plie. Throughout the rest of the bar work we did all of the exercises holding demi plie. Most of our movement comes from there and yet at the bar we use straight lifted knees??? A degage is the beginning of every jete’ from plie’ ? Most of our dancers' issues stem from not using the plie properly with the movement. It also leads to most of our knee injuries.

I found, through this process, that my dancers have  shallow demi plie and so we have been working on a deeper stretch.

Moving across the floor we continue our plie work with landing and holding. For instance, we broke down the grand jete:

Brush the foot through the floor holding the plie on the supporting leg

Pushing off the working leg from the plie tracking the knee over the middle toe

Landing and holding the arabesque tracking the knee and checking that the alignment is strong.

In contemporary and jazz we worked on landing and travel. A dancer needs to travel in plie, propelling the weight towards the working legs. In most instances the weight gets left behind, then movement becomes stiff and awkward. 

Remember to stay focused on your concept whatever it may be. Don’t plan with too much detail because we all know we get sidetracked :) Stay with what the dancers need, they will tell you. It is not always with words but more often with their struggles. 

Let us customize a month for you! Check out how we take the dancers through the process. The dancers stay engaged and you have so much to share.

Happy Teaching, 

Stephanie and Sydney

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