The Barre

Every studio has one.  We don’t think about it too much, we just get to work at it.  But the ballet barre is more than just a piece of workout equipment.

The barre is a trustworthy partner.  Did you know that one of its functions is to simulate a live dance partner?  This is one of the reasons that dancers turn towards the barre when switching sides – it is poor form to turn your back on your partner!

The barre is always there to help you test your strength and balance.  It is NOT there simply to hold you up, so don’t rely on it.  Rest your hand lightly on the barre, don’t wrap your thumb around it.  Let go periodically throughout the barre portion of class.

Have you ever noticed all the silent organizing that goes on between dancers when approaching the barre for class?  Who stands where?  Who takes the front and back of the line? Does someone claim on the same spot every class?  Do you always go to the same space?  Try not to.  Give yourself a fresh perspective each class – face a different wall, try taking the front position, stand behind a different dancer (don’t just stick with your friends).

Use the barre portion of class to get yourself in the correct mindset for dance.  Don’t allow your mind to wander to the chores and tasks of the day.  Use the solidity of the barre to help ground and center your thoughts.

Has your teacher ever told you to ‘dance the barre’?  This is so important!  You are dancing from the moment you start your first plié… actually even before that!  From the moment you breathe in and softly raise your arm, as your whole body lifts and you place your hand upon your barre partner….. you are dancing!  Start to see the barre as an important tool of transformation as you leave the outside world behind and become a beautiful dancer.


© Lauran M. Callan and brilliantdance, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to  Lauran M. Callan and brilliantdance with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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