grande plie’s in fourth~ i heartily vote “nay”

so, i’ve had a set plie’ combination for my intermediate/advanced class since forever, partially to save time and partially because…well….i think it’s a nice combination. But this year i decided to switch it up a little. upon hearing this news my class collectively gasped in shock and then one student asked (in a slight panic) “wait- will there be grande plie’s in fourth?!?” much to her apparent relief i answered “no. of course not.”

i have never given grande plie’s in fourth position, ever, nor will i – i don’t give them and i don’t do them and i don’t like them. i’m quite sure that i haven’t done a grande in fourth in 25 or 30 years. but seriously, i don’t see any benefit to them, they torque your knees in a way that can’t possibly be constructive and even if you have “perfect”  turn out it’s hardly possible to keep your hips square.

from what i’ve seen personally, this seems to be a widely shared view these days, tho there are certainly teachers that still give them. So if you are a young student and your teacher gives grande plie’s in fourth i’d say go ahead and do them, (if you’re young and pliable they won’t kill you) it would be disrespectful not to. but if you’re an adult and know your body and they bother your knees or hips feel free to opt out and do demi plie’s instead : )

sooo….at the risk of sounding like steve from t.v’s “blues clues” questioning an unseen audience of toddlers….. what do you think? grande plie’s in fourth – yea or nay?

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8 Responses to grande plie’s in fourth~ i heartily vote “nay”

  1. Gabriella says:

    One good reason for training Grand plié in fourth:
    if the student can manage a Grand plié in fourth, he will automatically better manage a demi-plié in fourth, therefore he’ll manage a better preparation for pirouette (without sitting, not forgetting back knee…)
    You cannot avoid basic movements/positions without missing something else really useful in other combinations.
    Feets don’t need to be perfectly crossed (not for everyone).

    • robin says:

      thanks for your comment gabriella!
      i think you can train a strong demi in 4th without doing grandes and i have certainly seen excellent turners come from dancers trained with teachers that don’t give them.
      something to think about, tho : )

  2. Diane says:

    I only give grande pliés in fourth if I know that the student is going towards a professional career, as they will need it in most professional school trainings. (They may not normally need that in company classes; though that depends entirely on the company. In the companies I danced in, the dancers were trusted to do what their bodies thought best; most did not do grande in 4th)
    Otherwise I never give grande pliés in any position except second, and sometimes in first. (5th only for the most advanced students, and never at the beginning of class)

    I have students who can turn quite well, too. 🙂

    • robin says:

      oh, that’s very interesting and very thoughtful. i don’t give them in 5th to the young kids but just the int/advanced students.
      thank you for stopping by & for your comment!

  3. We stopped them about a year ago, the principle of the school saying that there really is no movement in ballet that requires it or stems from it. Out it went! I admit I haven’t missed them…

  4. Loved reading about this. Very interesting! Thanks. 🙂

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