Plié - usually in 3/4 !!!

After you play your warm up (in my case it tends to always be something with a little jazz lilt wether it’s in 3/4 or 4/4) you head straight into Plié. Traditionally and historically this is technically the first barre exercise and I believe you should set the tone for the class here and consistently try to inspire through informed and beautiful music choices.

For a Plié I always try to pick something that both the teacher and dancers will enjoy - but my choices are usually informed by what the teacher enjoys. For example making informed choices I know that my boss at an old University establishment absolutely loved ‘Cavatina’ for her Plié exercises. This fitted perfectly with her choreography as this exercise was never longer then 64 bars (counts!) and only ever on one side. A different teacher I work with loves musicals and a little Les Miserables medley (similar to that featured on my Musical Theatre Release, 2013) worked well. This particular teacher will quite often decide half way through they will go to the second side or stop if there seem to be choreographic problems. If I happen to be playing for a teacher I’ve never worked with before I tend to throw caution to the wind and play something that I like to play for a Plié and hope that they like it!!! If they seem to like it, I feel it gives me a little bit of a grasp on what they may want and means I can do a little bit of advanced planning for the next few exercises whilst playing the Plié!!

What ever you decide to play for your first full barre exercises - please remember to always keep your choices appropriate for the age of the class you’re playing for and also in line with what the class teacher wants. It can be appropriate (if you’re playing for a teacher you’ve never worked with before) to have a little discussion with them before class to find out if they have a particular musical taste or melodies that they have in mind for their class - it can save trouble later on!

Below are a few PDF files that can be used for Plié exercises including Oasis ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ (a favourite of a very good friend Andrew Hall, Lecturer at LIPA), Les Miserables Medley (favourite of a very good friend and ex Dutch National Ballet dancer Robert Bell) and Cavatina from The Deer Hunter (favourite of Sarah Baker - Head of Dance at LIPA).