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Barre: Deep Pliés

Form and/or function

Building on the support positions and plié exercises, the deep pliés are a controlled lowering of the body towards the floor. They demand more strength, both in the supporting limbs and the core; working on control and balance. The grand port de bras describes the largest circle possible with the torso and arms.

Notes on our approach

Exploration and Setting:

Working with their chosen support positions, the dancers were asked to explore and find the deepest weight transfer from where they can return directly back to their upright position.  Also see Glossary notes on setting.

Score Elements:

  • Deep pliés / transfers in the three individually set support positions
  • A grand port de bras
  • Turn to the other side

The dancers also integrated material developed in the port de bras exercise depending on the level of complexity with which they were aiming to work.


  • Vary the combinations and directions within the established material
  • Set the same task in different support positions
  • Make rhythm and tempo changes within the set phrase
  • Add specific arm and/or head material
  • Emphasise the contrast in quality between the ‘grounded’ supporting limbs and the expansive and light quality in the gesturing limbs.

Observation Tasks

  • Which body parts are used to support and which are available for gesturing for each of the dancers? E.g. observe how Suzie and Robbie added a slight head articulation while performing the deep transfers. Also, observe how Vicky gauges the amount of strength available to her in both legs
  • What is important in terms of placement in these positions?