Sara Baurley

Having a strong relevé is a great benefit to dancers across genres of dance. While you might think it only matters for ballet dancers, the ankle and core strength that come from a practiced and technical relevé, improve balance and stability that are valuable for leaps, jumps, and turns in every dance from tap to hip hop!

Building your relevé takes work, but building it is simple. Use these tips to improve and strengthen your relevé.

Strengthen Your Muscles

A strong and balanced relevé stems from your calf and ankle muscles. The stronger they are, the better your relevé will be. Add these exercises to your daily routine to strengthen those muscles and elevate your relevé.

Calf Raises: Calf raises don’t require extra equipment or space, so you can do them practically anywhere. Start by doing calf raises on both feet. As you get stronger, you can also practice on one foot at a time. Just remember to exercise each of your legs evenly.

Stretch Bands and Exercise Balls: Use a stretch band around your toes to practice flexing and pointing your feet. For more of a challenge, move your feet in circular motions for a higher-difficulty ankle workout. You can also use a half exercise ball for calf raises, pushing yourself to be more balanced. You can also do front, back, or side scales in relevé on the exercise ball.

Relevé Holds: A crucial step to improving your relevé is holding the position. Go into and hold your relevé as long as you can, repeating to increase the duration.

Break Down the Technique

Balance: Even weight distribution is part of a clean relevé—and all of the turns, leaps, and steps that include it. When you go on relevé for your turns, your weight should be on the balls of your feet, not just your toes. 

Engage Your Muscles: Engage your calves, ankles, and core. Lift from your feet all the way to the crown of your head!

Getting a high and strong relevé takes practice and time. But targeting each aspect of the position from the pose to the muscles involved will make it easier.

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Trina Hannah is a graphic design major and dancer at Siena Heights University. She loves all things creative including photography, painting, and writing. Trina has a passion for helping other young women build up their self esteem and chase their dreams all while making a positive impact.