Skip to main content

The Power of Plié

"Plié is the first thing you learn and the last thing you master." -Suzanne Farrell

This has always been one of my favorite dance quotes, because its so true. Throughout my dance training, teachers have always emphasized how important a good plié is. When I was teaching, I really made an effort to pass that advice on to my own students, though I don't think I really realized how far reaching it is.

I'm currently struggling with an uneven plié and its making my life difficult. The flexibility of my right ankle (that'd be the Ankle of Doom) still needs work. I can't get the same deep plié I can get on the other side. Landing jumps doesn't have the same squishy feel, and in pointe class recently, I struggled doing a simple tendu fondu to sous-sus en pointe (which requires a bit of a spring)--it was such a mess! I felt like I just could NOT push off the floor enough. Not to mention my complete inability to get off the floor for petit allegro.

It's been a year and a half since my surgery, and I worry that I'm not going to get my flexibility back. I try to stretch my calves daily, and can tell it helps a little, but I still feel like I'm hitting a wall.

I have some nice chunks of scar tissue in my ankle from surgery that are causing their own sort of impingement; I can only hope that they will break down or become more malleable (there are conflicting opinions about whether not not this can actually happen) so that I can get some more mobility, because I want my jump back!


Popular posts from this blog

Review: Elevé Dancewear

Last week, Poets & Pirouettes reviewed a custom leotard she ordered from Lone Reed Designs, and sparked my interest in trying an independent designer the next time I want a custom leotard.  We started having a conversation about my experience ordering from Elevé Dancewear, and I realized, "Duh, Jackie! You have a blog now! You should review and talk about those leotards in detail there instead of hijacking the comments section of this post!"  (Sorry m'dear!)  Also, I've determined that P&P and I could be horrible enablers for each other (in the best possible way).

(As an aside, you should go follow her blog, she is an amazing writer and fabulous to boot).

Now, let's get down to business and talk about Elevé. 

Review: Barreto Dancewear

As you all can probably tell, I'm obsessed with custom leotards. I love the idea of having something unique. However, because (as I've mentioned before) I am a curvier dancer, it can still be hard to find something that fits perfectly. I decided that instead of continuing to try the more expensive and popular brands (Eleve, Yumiko), I would try a smaller shop and see if I could get something that fit me a little more exactly.

I had great luck when I found Barreto Dancewear. The owner, Elizabeth, is a dancer with Idaho Ballet. Her designs are clean and flattering, and the majority are available in solid (but colorful) fabrics and mesh, though she does have a couple designs that have fun patterened fabric choices as well. There are a LOT of colors available (both in nylon/spandex and mesh), so your color combinations are pretty endless.

I decided to try two leotards with short sleeves: the Marie and the Evora.  Before I ordered, though, I sent Elizabeth a message asking about si…

All the Relevés!

As many of you my know, World Ballet Day was last week, and like any proper ballet nerd I watched parts of the stream throughout the day.

At some point during the broadcast, one of the hosts mentioned something about the Australian Ballet and relevés. This sounded vaguely familiar, and Googling brought up this video with Dr. Nancy Kadel briefly talking about it, and I recalled discussing it with my own dance PT. The theory is that doing 24 relevés (one foot at a time in parallel with control) helps build the calf and lower leg muscles thereby preventing injury and things like posterior impingement (oh hey!).

During the Australian Ballet's broadcast during World Ballet Day this year, they also talked about it a bit, and showed the company class actually doing the relevés before leaving the barre (they have since removed the video, grr).

Doing rises/relevés is actually part of my PT regimen, but to be honest I've been a little more lax about it lately because of the flare up a m…