Concentrated work to develop this special plié is best done in the grand plié in a double-wide second position. Standing like this with feet far apart gives you a better idea of using energy that is equal and opposite.
I tell the students that when they are preparing for the almost-isometric grand plié, they should resemble a triangle: the three points are the head, the right foot, and the left foot. Energy radiates outward from the center of the body through these three points. Energy up through the crown of your head resists the downward pull of your feet.
The almost-isometric plié begins at the floor. Your feet grip the floor in order to pull the legs into the plié position. Think of doing pull-ups when you are hanging from a barre; your elbows bend because you are pulling your body up. Or you can go to the wall barre and pull away from it (as you do my Kitchen Sink stretch). As you pull yourself toward the barre, your elbows bend. The almost-isometric plié works exactly like this.
In the upward movement of the almost-isometric plié, there is no deliberate “pulling up” of the body and straightening of the knees.
You relax your feet, spread your toes, and push down on the floor.
Think of doing a push-up on the floor. As you push the floor, your arms slowly straighten and bring your body up. In the same way, when you are in this plié, you press down on the floor and continue to do so until your legs return to the standing position.
Learning to do all of your pliés like this will build a path of energy from your toes to your head and enable you to move with power and grace.
Here are some important keys:
- The plié is the cause that creates an effect.
- The plié is a verb, not a noun. It’s an action, not a position.
- The plié always has to be “worked.” It is never a relaxed movement unless you are told to do so for stretching purposes
(To be continued. Excerpted from my book The Finis Jhung Ballet Technique: A Guide for Teachers & Students
Be sure to check out our Guidebook Packages