What Is a Relevé in Ballet: A Guide for Dancers and Dance Enthusiasts

If you have ever watched a ballet performance or taken ballet classes, you may have come across the term “relevé.” As one of the fundamental movements in ballet, relevé plays a crucial role in creating grace and elegance on stage. In this blog post, we will delve into what exactly a relevé is, how it is executed, its importance in dance technique, and some tips for achieving proper form.

Defining Relevé:

In ballet terminology, the word “relevé” translates to “raised” or “lifted.” It refers to the action of rising onto the balls of your feet while keeping your legs straight. During a relevé, dancers use their calf muscles to lift their bodies upward gracefully without any visible effort.

The Execution of Relevés:

To perform a relevé correctly:
1. Stand with your feet parallel or slightly turned out.
2. Engage your core by pulling up through your lower abdomen.
3. Keep your heels connected as you slowly rise onto the balls of both feet.
4. Maintain an upright posture with shoulders relaxed and down.
5. Ensure that there is no sickling (rolling inward) or winging (rolling outward) motion of ankles; align them directly over toes.
6. Hold the position momentarily before lowering back down with control.

The Importance of Relevés in Ballet Technique:

Relevés serve multiple purposes within ballet technique:
1. Building Strength: Performing relevés regularly helps strengthen calf muscles while improving overall leg strength and stability.
2. Balance Enhancement: By practicing controlled releve exercises regularly, dancers develop better balance skills necessary for executing various intricate movements on pointe shoes or during challenging partnering sequences.
3. Foot Articulation: Relevés enable dancers to enhance their foot articulation, helping them achieve a more aesthetically pleasing line while executing jumps and other movements.
4. Elevation Preparation: Consistent practice of relevés aids in preparing dancers for higher jumps by developing the necessary muscle strength and control.

Tips for Achieving Proper Relevé Form:

To ensure you are performing relevés correctly, here are some helpful tips:
1. Start with proper alignment: Stand tall with your body weight evenly distributed between both feet.
2. Engage your core muscles throughout the movement to maintain stability.
3. Visualize lifting through the crown of your head while rising onto demi-pointe (balls of feet).
4. Avoid gripping or clenching toes; instead, think about spreading them wide and maintaining contact between all parts of the foot.
5. Gradually increase the height and duration of your relevés as you gain strength and control.

In Conclusion:

Relevé is an essential movement in ballet that helps build strength, improve balance, enhance foot articulation, and prepare for elevation in jumps. By practicing relevés regularly with proper form, aspiring dancers can develop both physical abilities and technical skills needed to excel in this beautiful art form.

Remember to always consult a qualified ballet instructor for personalized guidance on technique execution based on individual needs or limitations! Happy dancing!