Relevé – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Dance Terminology Glossary

I. What is Relevé in dance?

Relevé is a fundamental movement in ballet and other dance styles that involves rising onto the balls of the feet. The term “relevé” comes from the French word meaning “raised” or “lifted.” This movement is commonly used in ballet to create the illusion of lightness and grace, as well as to strengthen the muscles in the feet, ankles, and calves.

In ballet, relevé is often used as a transitional movement between other steps, such as pliés or pirouettes. It is also used to add height and elegance to jumps and turns. Relevé can be performed in various positions, such as first position, second position, or fifth position, depending on the choreography.

II. How is Relevé executed?

To execute a relevé, dancers start in a standing position with their feet in a turned-out position. They then push through the balls of their feet, lifting their heels off the ground while maintaining a straight alignment of the body. The ankles should be fully stretched, and the weight should be evenly distributed between the big toe, little toe, and heel.

Dancers should engage their core muscles to maintain balance and stability while in relevé. The arms can be held in various positions, such as en bas, en haut, or en couronne, depending on the style of dance and choreography.

III. What are the variations of Relevé?

There are several variations of relevé that dancers can incorporate into their routines to add complexity and artistry. Some common variations include:

1. Relevé en demi-pointe: This variation involves rising onto the balls of the feet without fully lifting the heels off the ground. It is often used in exercises to strengthen the feet and ankles.

2. Relevé sauté: This variation involves jumping into relevé, adding an element of height and power to the movement. It is commonly used in allegro (fast) combinations in ballet.

3. Relevé passé: This variation involves lifting one foot off the ground and placing it on the opposite knee while in relevé. It requires balance and control to execute properly.

IV. What is the importance of Relevé in dance technique?

Relevé is an essential movement in dance technique for several reasons. Firstly, it helps to strengthen the muscles in the feet, ankles, and calves, which are crucial for supporting the body’s weight and executing other movements with precision. Additionally, relevé helps to improve balance, coordination, and alignment, which are essential for performing more advanced steps and sequences.

In ballet, relevé is often used to create the illusion of weightlessness and grace, as dancers appear to float effortlessly across the stage. It also helps to develop the aesthetic quality of movements, as dancers learn to control their bodies with precision and control.

V. How can dancers improve their Relevé?

Dancers can improve their relevé by incorporating specific exercises into their training routine. Some effective exercises for strengthening the muscles used in relevé include:

1. Calf raises: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slowly rise onto the balls of your feet, then lower back down. Repeat this movement for several sets to build strength in the calves.

2. Theraband exercises: Use a resistance band to perform exercises that target the muscles in the feet and ankles, such as dorsiflexion and plantar flexion.

3. Pilates footwork: Incorporate Pilates exercises that focus on foot articulation and control, such as pointing and flexing the feet, to improve the quality of relevé.

VI. What are common mistakes to avoid when performing Relevé?

When performing relevé, dancers should be mindful of common mistakes that can affect their technique and performance. Some common mistakes to avoid include:

1. Rolling in or out on the ankles: Dancers should maintain a straight alignment of the ankles while in relevé to avoid putting strain on the joints and risking injury.

2. Leaning forward or backward: Dancers should keep their weight centered over the balls of their feet while in relevé to maintain balance and stability.

3. Gripping the floor with the toes: Dancers should avoid scrunching their toes or gripping the floor with their feet while in relevé, as this can inhibit proper alignment and restrict movement.

By being aware of these common mistakes and focusing on proper technique, dancers can improve their relevé and enhance their overall performance quality.