Almost every movement we make in ballet consists of a plié and a relevé. The problem most dancers have is not knowing the difference between a “pose” and an “action.” Simply bending the knees and sinking down into a passive pose with legs and feet relaxed does not properly engage the muscles of the feet or legs. As a result, it does not prepare you to spring up quickly into a balance, turn, or jump.
Learning to think with your feet and have your feet activate your legs is not taught in the traditional ballet class. Once you have tried initiating the demi-plié with your toes instead of your knees, you will feel and see the difference. To improve your jumps, you must know the difference between lifting your foot up passively, and then pointing it; or pressing the foot flat down on the floor and quickly springing it off the floor to full point in the air. Again, it’s not the “pose”—it’s the “action.”