We’ve all heard the saying “What goes up must come down”, but did you know that in dance you actually have to make sure you are down to go up? It sounds crazy, but with jumps and leaps in any of your classes, the plie that you use to prep before a jump is really important!
When you started out in preschool classes at the barre, your routine of “plie and stretch” was more than just to familiarize you with barre work that would become the standard of your dance education. You were just beginning to condition your muscles for the high-flying that lay ahead. As you progressed through your classes you have heard (or will hear) your teachers reminding you to “Plie!” or simply call out “Down and leap!” as you go through your floor work during class.
The basic reason is this: Your plie is your power. The deeper the plie, the more power you will have to propel yourself into the air which is essential to properly leap. Here are some pointers to help to catch more air:
- Stretching is Key: You wouldn’t want to try for a nice deep plie without warming up those muscles first. Injury prevention is really important, and if you work on improving your stretching routine (ask your teacher for suggestions!) your leg muscles will be prepared.
- Bend those Knees!: Work on deepening your plie before attempting a full leap. Make sure that you have proper form and aren’t leaning your body forward.
- Look Where You Leap: If you want to go up, focus your gaze in that direction.
- What Goes Up…: Remember that old saying? You should be working toward landing your leap easily and quietly and definitely with those same bent knees that started your leap. Again, injury prevention is really important and your leap isn’t complete until you’ve returned safely to your feet.
If you have any other questions on hoe to improve your leaps and jumps, make sure to check in with your fabulous Dance Connection teachers for guidance!