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Barre: Pliés

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.

Notes on our approach

Having already explored and set three support positions for each of the dancers, we were able to fairly quickly set the phrase material. The dancers were tasked with transposing the set elements with their selected support positions.

Exploration and Setting:

In order to find the demi/halfway positions, the dancers first had to explore how deep they can go whilst still being able to directly and safely return back up.

Score Elements:

  • Small breath
  • Shifting within the support position
  • Two demi-pliés, rise, and cambré (bending the torso)

The dancers added their own arms and head movements to suit the level of complexity and connection for which they were aiming.  Also see Glossary notes on setting.


  • Vary the combinations and directions using 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.

Observation Tasks:

  • Observe how the dancers work with the previously set support positions.
  • What material (e.g. port de bras, transitions) did the dancers add?
  • Do you have questions for the dancers about their choices and performance?
  • What would you want them to work on next?