Teaching Tips

Ask Deb: How Do I Get My Relevé Higher?

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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!

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