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Therapeutic Barre


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One of the Nutcracker productions I've looked at auditioning for this season does something I'm not familiar with for a warm-up prior to rehearsals. They expect dancers to come and stretch and then do a "therapeutic barre" for fifteen minutes in lieu of a classical barre.


I'm curious as to what exactly a "therapeutic barre" is and if it is an adequate warm-up for intermediate dancers like myself.


I'm also aware that during the recital season, this studio does therapeutic barre in class before rehearsing the recital piece for the remainder of class time.

Edited by cherrylemonade
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Sounds like somebody had a director associated with Harkness House in the 60s and early 70s. "Therapeutic barre" was a part of the copyrighted Jo Anna Kneeland system of ballet training. Ms. Leigh is much more familiar with it than I, and although I know that I did it with some friends who worked there, I can't recall what actually all went into it. Suffice it to say, it can't be described here. I remember it being a good warm-up, but also rather relaxing, too.

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IF it is the Kneeland Therapeutic Barre, which runs 7 minutes, not 15, it is excellent as a PRE-barre warm up. It is definitely NOT intended to replace barre. I would never do only that and then center work or rehearsal. It is not sufficient at all.

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Ms. Leigh, what exactly does this type of barre include? I'm just curious, because I warm up by doing my own pre barre before class, but if there's a proffesional one, I'd love to try it!

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It's just one that was 'codified' a number of years ago by JoAnna Kneeland. It is very good, but needs to be taught by someone who has done it, not in writing. I am guessing that there are a number of different ones, plus whatever some teacher do each day at the beginning of barre.


The idea behind the Kneeland Therapeutic Barre was to get everything gently moving, like all the joints and all the major muscle groups. There is very little rotation involved, which is one reason it is only a pre-barre series and NOT a barre replacement. Most pre-barre or 'therapeutic' barres would do the same thing. There is no substitute for tendus, dégagés, rond de jambes, fondus, etc. They are not just warm up exercises, they are the things that teach your body what it has to do when it moves to the center of the room. It teaches you HOW to align the bones, place the weight, rotate the legs, use the feet, move the weight from one leg to the other, and develop the tools to execute all of the positions and movements you will be expected to learn in the center.

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Miss Leigh and Mr. Johnson,


Thanks very much for the clarification. It certainly takes this studio off of my audition list and I appreciate knowing about the background of Therapeutic Barre.


- cherrylemonade

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