Plié: Bent, bending; a bending of the knee or knees.
A plié is when a dancer bends at the knees. The movement is performed in 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th positions in classical ballet, both at the barre and center in classes. Correct use and development of a plié is a basic but essential movement to a dancer’s technique.
This exercise renders the joints and muscles soft and pliable and the tendons flexible and elastic and develops a sense of balance. There are two principal pliés: grand plié or full bending of the knees (the knees should be bent until the thighs are horizontal) and demi-plié or half-bending of the knees.
Pliés are done at the bar and in the center in all five positions of the feet. The third position is usually omitted. When a grand plié is executed in either the first, third, fourth position croisé (feet in the fifth position but separated by the space of one foot) or the fifth position, the heels always rise off the ground and are lowered again as the knees straighten. The bending movement should be gradual and free from jerks, and the knees should be at least half-bent before the heels are allowed to rise. The body should rise at the same speed as it descended, pressing the heels into the floor. In the second or the fourth position ouverte (feet in the first position but separated by the space of one foot) of the grand plié, the heels do not rise off the ground.
All demi-pliés are done without lifting the heels from the ground. In all pliés, the legs must be well turned out from the hips, the knees open and well over the toes, and the body’s weight evenly distributed on both feet, with the whole foot grasping the floor.
Pliés are often seen before and after more advanced steps. They act as a sort of springboard for all jumps and are an important key for turns. Additionally, a correct and functional plié is necessary for smooth transitions between movements. Most importantly, a plié helps provide the proper cushioning when landing from jumps, keeping the dancer from becoming easily injured and able to dance very long ballets and performances.
The movement and position of a plié are seen throughout every form of dance.
Demi-Plie: Half-bend of the knees.
All steps of elevation begin and end with a demi-plié. See Plié.
For example, demi-plie means “half bend at the knees.” Demi is used less commonly for other terms like demi-arabesque, meaning “half arabesque,” or demi-tour, meaning “half-turn.”
- Movement Explanations:
- Start in First position.
- Bend your knees.
- Knees should align with the center of the foot.
- Go straight up and down.
- Demi plié is half the length of your full extension.
- The full extent of your plié is when your heels lift off the ground.
- Grand Plié:
- After your heels lift off the ground – it is a Grand Plié.
- Movement Techniques:
- Heels are connected.
- Turn out your legs.
- Keep back straight.
- Pull head up, as if by string & bend down at the same time.
- Keep your knees apart.