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Barre: Plié

Form and/or Function

Pliés are performed at the barre using some or all of the five foot positions. Folding and extending on the support position, pliés affirm the placement, strengthen and create internal connections. They lead into deeper transfers, elevations, weight shifts and balances as well as travel, turns and jumps.

We also explored and discussed the amount of plié the dancers use. Focusing the folding on working in the support structure and not compensating in the torso.

Notes on our approach

Before progressing to the barre, we worked on centre:  narrow and wide and center: plié – port de bras introduction. In separate [coaching and tutorial] sessions we discussed and set individual support positions for the dancers and their set up at the barre. Also see centre: processing and coaching.

Exploration and Setting

We used the plié variation set for RAD Grade 2 Ballet as a reference point. As all the dancers were new to the Grade 2 syllabus, and several new to ballet per se, this was an introduction to this new material. We decided to build up to the RAD version and start facing the barre rather than side on and to work with narrow/1st and wide/2nd position with the aim of exploring and introducing crossed/3rd position when and where appropriate.

We also explored and discussed the amount of plié the dancers use. Focusing the folding on working in the support structure and not compensating in the torso.

Score Elements

Performing the plié exercise facing the barre including lowering/plié and rising/relevé. We also combined this setting with the port de bras introduced and practised in the centre.

Development

  • Rotate to stand sideways to the barre.
  • Explore and introduce other support positions, e.g. crossed/3rd position

Observation Tasks

  • How consistent are the dancers in using their individually set support positions?
  • What feedback would you give about movement quality?
  • Observe how the dancers transpose specific elements; how does this correspond with the set elements of the phrase?