Teaching Tips

Ask Deb: How Do I Get My Relevé Higher?


I need to improve the height of my relevé. My teacher has suggested that I practice by going into a relevé, then moving into plié with a forced arch, and then straightening the legs without moving my heels. No matter how hard I try, I can't keep my heels from lowering. Why is this?

First, let's look at what happens when you do a slow relevé. As you rise, check to see if your toes grip or crunch up. If they do, you need to develop more strength in the arch muscles and release the pull from the calf muscles.

1. Use a pinkie ball on the front of your calf to roll out the muscle just outside of the shin bone (the anterior tibialis muscle ). Do this by kneeling gently on the ball and pressing or rolling over the muscle. Then, sit on the ground with your leg in front of you and place the pinkie ball underneath your calf muscle to roll it out. Finally, stand on the pinkie ball and roll the arch of your foot over the ball.

2. Try stretching the muscles underneath your toes by standing in a parallel fourth position and bending the back knee.

3. Practice strengthening the calf muscles with slow single-leg relevés.

Hopefully these suggestions will help you stay on your feet!

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.

To work with Deb Vogel in person, check out her summer workshop, A Dance Teacher's Retreat to Tuscany!

Allie Burke, courtesy Lo Cascio

If you'd hear it on the radio, you won't hear it in Anthony Lo Cascio's tap classes.

"If I play a song that my kids know, I'm kind of disappointed in myself," he says. "I either want to be on the cutting edge or playing the classics."

He finds that most of today's trendy tracks lack the depth needed for tap, and that there's a disconnect between kids and popular music. "They have trouble finding the beat compared to older genres," he says.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
Courtesy Lovely Leaps

After the birth of her daughter in 2018, engineer Lisa McCabe had reservations about returning to the workforce full-time. And while she wanted to stay home with the new baby, she wasn't ready to stop contributing financially to her family (after all, she'd had a successful career designing cables for government drones). So, when she got a call that September from an area preschool to lead its dance program, she saw an opportunity.

The invitation to teach wasn't completely out of the blue. McCabe had grown up dancing in Southern California and had a great reputation from serving as her church's dance teacher and team coach the previous three years (stopping only to take a break as a new mother). She agreed to teach ballet and jazz at the preschool on Fridays and from there created an age-appropriate class based on her own training in the Cecchetti and RAD methods. It was a success: In three months, class enrollment went from six to 24 students, and just one year later, McCabe's blossoming Lovely Leaps brand had contracts with eight preschools and three additional teachers.

Keep reading... Show less
Courtesy Shake the Ground

Dance competitions were among the first events to be shut down when the COVID-19 pandemic exploded in the U.S. in mid-March, and they've been among the last able to restart.

So much of the traditional structure of the competition—large groups of dancers and parents from dozens of different studios; a new city every week—simply won't work in our new pandemic world.

How, then, have competitions been getting by, and what does the future look like?

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.