No matter how hard I work to change it, I'm often told that I have a shallow plié. Is there any hope for improving the depth of my plié through special stretches to make it juicier? I'm doing a lot of exercises, but I don't seem to getting any results. Looking forward to reading your advice. Thanks!


How is your flexibility in the other areas of your body? Is it primarily the Achilles that is tight, or do you have other muscle tightness? If it is primarily the Achilles tendon, I would try releasing tension in the gastrocnemius and soleus muscle. The soleus is what determines the muscular depth of your demi-plié. It is underneath the gastrocnemius (the largest and most superficial muscle of the calf of the leg), and you might explore some self-administered myofascial techniques.

Start first by doing a demi-plié in parallel and seeing how everything feels. Then sit on a chair and place your left ankle on your right thigh. Take your right thumb (or both thumbs) and find some sore areas at the back of the calf. An especially good area is in the middle of the calf just below the gastrocnemius muscle.

Once you find a sore spot, move your thumbs slightly down (toward the ankle) from the soreness and press up toward the knee with your thumbs. Hold the pressure steady, while you slowly flex the foot 5–6 times before moving your thumbs to another sore area. Do a couple of spots and then stand up and try your demi-plié. Hopefully, you'll go a little lower!

To your success,

Deborah Vogel

Director, The Body Series

Got a question for Deb? E-mail askdeb@dancemedia.com, and she may answer it in an upcoming web exclusive.

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