“Plié is the first thing you learn and the last thing you master”

A plié is defined as:

Bent, bending. A bending of the knee or knees. This is an exercise to render the joints and muscles soft and pliable and the tendons flexible and elastic, and to develop 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 knee.

American Ballet Theater

Pretty much every class starts with pliés and they’re usually the first thing we learn as ballet dancers, no matter what level we start at.

Suzanne Farrell said, “Plié is the first thing you learn and the last thing you master.”

Pliés in one of my classes:


Why are pliés important? Discount Dance’s Plié is Your Best Friend says:

Plié exercises at the ballet barre help to warm up and strengthen the muscles and joints of the feet, legs, hips and core. As a transitioning step, the plié plays a key role in moving from one step to the next both at the barre and in center.

A strong and properly performed demi-plié provides the power behind every turn, relevé, and jump not only in ballet, but in contemporary dance forms too. The pliant plié controls the finish of a graceful pirouette and provides a soft, injury-free landing from small and large jumps.

Discount Dance has some other great plié tips as well. My favorite is to remember to have an equal distribution of your weight over three points in your feet in demi plié: between the first and fifth toes, and the heel of the foot.

What tips have you found most useful in perfection your pliés?

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