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 Post subject: shallow plie
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 2:58 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2004 11:01 pm
Posts: 12
Location: central california
does anyone know any good exercises for a stronger, deeper plie? mine are extrordinarily weak and shallow. i chalk it up to lack of experience, but it's just muscles, right? there should be exercises i can do to really get myself down. i've tried just plie-ing over and over, using one of those exercise machines where you are pushed into a squat, and just trying to strech my plie throughout my day, but nothing seemed to have a good effect.

oh, and another one... what's good for enhancing point? i don't have those crazy overly curly feet since i don't have the years and years of training, but i do have a good natural arch and decent foot control. i've found that trying too hard to point gives me foot cramps so i've kinda given up recently on it. anyone have experience with those resist-a-band thingys? would those help me?

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~kat


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 Post subject: Re: shallow plie
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 8:33 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 170
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Plies, I will think about & try to post later.

For feet:

Resist-a-bands worked wonders for me - I had completely flat feet when I started - used them on 1 foot at a time, did "point/flex" stuff.

Frappes helped, also - I've had the best luck working with BOTH pointing and flexing. Also, making sure that I involved the whole leg, not just the toes or feet was important as well.

Other exercises would be crumpling up a towel with your toes and trying to pick things up off the floor with them. Also, "drumming" your toes like you would your fingers - goal is to get them all working separately, I still can't do it after years of trying, but have seen improvement.

Progress for me came very, very gradually, and it was easy to overdo if I wasn't careful - this can be really frustrating, because when your feet hurt it screws everything else up! It's important to just take it on faith at first that the improvement will happen if you stick with it.

It's best if you try to focus on proper alignment and use of your foot, and QUIT whenever that becomes difficult to sustain. You don't want to train your feet to point in a way that they are misaligned with your body, this will make you injury prone.


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 Post subject: Re: shallow plie
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2004 12:37 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2004 11:01 pm
Posts: 12
Location: central california
tigger~

thanks for the great tips! i'm going to have to get some of those bands for sure. i'm thinking i'll look into pilates as well. i keep hearing great things about it in the dance crowd, and my feet aren't the only things that could benifit a little extra attention.

i do tend to pick things up with my feet a lot, i guess i'll just be more conscious about it now.

do you (or anyone else) happen to know if foot cramping will ease up over time? if i concentrate on my feet too much or try to point my foot too hard for too long i get a cramp on the inside of my arch. will this stop when i gain more flexability?

thanks again! :D

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~kat


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 Post subject: Re: shallow plie
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2004 2:17 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 45
Location: Gainesville, Fl
Your feet are probably crampping like mine used to because I thought that pointing your feet had only to do with you toes. Try not to think of curling your toes under, but making the foot an extension on the leg making your point go out and just get longer no curl underneath itself, if that made any sense. As for your plie the lenght of your achellies is the major limiting factor in a plie and theres not a lot you can do about it just always pay attention to every plie you do and try to make them as deep as possible while paying attention to your alignment
hope that helped
~K~


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 Post subject: Re: shallow plie
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2004 8:41 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 1258
Location: Scotland/France
Normally yes, cramping will ease with time... I would take this as a good sign myself. I know a lot of people don't truly work on their feet until they come to class (and so, it's a reaction of the body really) so it shows at least you're working at it. As long as you make sure you pushing the foot, not curling the toes (I give the image that you would want to break the elastics on top of your instep as you're pushing so hard against them -that gives you the right idea, and the toes from there are long and extended/stretched).
If you do this correctly, and remember to push against the floor in demi pointe (so that you're high on the foot with the heel away from the floor) then you'll work well and your foot shape will improve. At first you will cramp, but if it's correctly done, it will ease (and so, in this case, cramping is good!)

For shallow plié, I would recommend you relax entirely in the plié, and make sure (while the heels remain on the floor) that you stretch the Achiles well... From there, there's not much you can do (you have or haven't got a deep plié, but you can work on it with time).
As long as you give that 'elasticity' in your plié (and remember that it's there to help you jump or control the landing -so that your back don't take a beating) then you're fine. Experiment by controlling/relaxing the plié, warm your Achiles well (tip of the toes on a stair and heel 'hanging' down also works well -also known as 'runner stretch').


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 Post subject: Re: shallow plie
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2004 8:46 am 
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Location: Scotland/France
Just additional advice: make sure you're fully hydrated before and during class (as cramping could be the consequence of this) and a lack of potassium (I think!) is also a cause. Have a banana (which is great to sustain some energy so go for it!)

Cramping is not great as it can truly hurt. Don't go beyond an unbearable pain (I don't think you could really) but try and still complete the exercise through the cramping. Sometimes it's not possible, but you'll notice that if you concentrate and do it, the following time is not as bad, then it's totally gone... Hopefully! ;)


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 Post subject: Re: shallow plie
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2004 9:01 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 170
Location: Massachusetts, USA
This article helped me a lot.

http://www.dancepages.com/jhung2.htm

Pilates is very helpful as well for training your muscles to work together properly - it has been great for me....


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 Post subject: Re: shallow plie
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2004 12:09 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 170
Location: Massachusetts, USA
The advice balletwoman gave you (copied below) was what helped me the most: - working for elasticity, rather than depth, staying warm, and lots of those toe stretches on stairs.

I also added in pulling up to releve after hanging down and working the full range of motion slowly and in a controlled fashion, holding onto the walls/rails on either side of the stairs to make sure of consistent alignment throughout.

Don't do it though, unless you feel loose enough and able to easily control the motion.

Also - I found that if I made sure to both work on pointing AND flexing equally in any given session, this stopped any cramping...

*****As long as you give that 'elasticity' in your plié (and remember that it's there to help you jump or control the landing -so that your back don't take a beating) then you're fine. Experiment by controlling/relaxing the plié, warm your Achiles well (tip of the toes on a stair and heel 'hanging' down also works well -also known as 'runner stretch').****


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 Post subject: Re: shallow plie
PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2004 7:42 am 
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Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2004 11:01 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Since you guys have been talking about cramp in the arch, anyone know good relaxation to work out the cramp at the end of class? I tend to massage it or roll my feet on a tennis ball but the massaging hurts my fingers and the tennis ball isn't so great cos it doesn't go right into the arch.

Sorry to hijack your topic!!


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 Post subject: Re: shallow plie
PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2004 8:14 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 23, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 1057
Location: SF CA
I used to use a foot roller that I bought at a health food store. It looked like a small rolling pin and it had ridges and bumps that got the knots out of my arches. It also relaxed my calf muscles and that relaxed my arches. I also used to use a bag of frozen peas to rest my feet on. They conform to your foot and help with sore feet.


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 Post subject: Re: shallow plie
PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 5:39 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2004 11:01 pm
Posts: 9
For plie, butterfly stretches help. Doing plies over and over tends to tire your muscles out. Be sure you are keeping your upper body flat - you can do plies with your back against a wall, and that will help with checking that. Also, be sure you are bringing your heals up at the proper time in your grand plie.

For feet- ristabands are great! I've even used a wide ace bandage for that purpose, as well.
Try pointing in the air, rolling through your foot, so you are pointing mostly your arch, and not so much your toes. Then point your toes down, and then flex them (just your toes!) back. do this over and over, and that will help build up strength and arches! Also, to help with not over-curling your toes, try pointing feet with shoes on! Point and flex over and over, and take note of how your toes stay mostly straight.


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 Post subject: Re: shallow plie
PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2004 5:51 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2004 11:01 pm
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I forgot to mention something above when I talked about butterfly stretches. I must have gotten distracted by something! :) Anyhow, after doing the usual bounce your legs, press them down towards the floor, then stretch flat back and then rounded back forward stuff.... I also like to point my toes until my heals come off the floor, and slide my feet forward until they are straight, keeping my heals off the floor as long as possible. And then I reverse that, and pull them in. I also do these type of "plies" laying on my back, and then also laying on my back with my legs straight up to the ceiling. Then I'll stand up at the barre and do demi, demi, grand, take a quick rest and port a bra my arms, repeat, and then do it center.


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