Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

"Barre"exercise classes are not created equal


Recommended Posts

So, I've been attending a studio for about a year, started with a barre type class and added a beginner adult class after a few more months, then started adult class at another studio in addition. So now I'm up to 3 classes a week, im totally hooked and would attend daily if I could!


The barre only class I usually go to doesn't veer too far off ballet type exercises, very simple movements and a nice stretch at the end.


So I decided to try a barre class at a local fitness centre, and it just felt wrong to me. We were instructed to tuck our bottoms in. There was a lot of plies, but mostly pulsing, just bouncing up and down an inch or so. Lots and lots of plies on releve. And plies with weights. At least there was a brief cool down and stretching at the end.


Do any other adult student looking for more classes go to barre classes like this? It really wasn't very ballet like at all, there was a barre and plies but that's about it.

Link to comment
  • Administrators

Sounds like a fitness class that has very little to do with ballet.

Link to comment

Barre fitness classes have sprouted up like weeds where I live. I don't take these classes because I can find enough "regular" dance classes, but I know of one studio that's run directly by a working dancer/ballet teacher and another where the classes were designed by an excellent modern teacher. (Incidentally, I think these were among the first, if not the first, businesses in the field here.) I would be willing to try those classes if I was trying to fill a gap, but I'd be very wary of the others without knowing a lot more about them!

Link to comment

Well all I know is that I am very sore today, especially my knees and lower back. And I didn't do a lot of the pulsing movements. I won't be returning.

Link to comment

Some of us are being asked to start offering "barre-type" classes for those who do not want to commit to more "serious" or "traditional" ballet classes (for beginners), so that the enrollment keeps up.

I am not sure I want to do this.

I cannot see myself teaching a fitness class which is pretending to be a ballet class, but is not.

I wonder if there are perhaps more teachers such as me who _have_ to do this in order to have any class to teach at all.


I also would not like that sort which you went to, iceberg*lover.

Those are indeed not places you want to be sore after class. :o



edit to add: I am not in need of more students at present, but some of the classes in the school are low... so the dir. is looking for something to get more "customers" in the door.

Edited by diane
Link to comment
Guest Pas de Quoi

I have offered a dance conditioning class for non-dancers before. It went well, but I was able to craft my own program using elements from Pilates, floor barre and easy movements across the floor for an aerobic component.

Link to comment

The school I was taking my absolute beginner classes at over the summer offers barre fitness classes only during summer. I ended up taking them during that latter part of the summer because it was immediately before my class. The whole time I only saw 3 people who weren't regulars in the actual ballet classes and that group never came back. For me personally, I felt like the extra cardio, corework and and adding small weights to port de bras helped me in my actual ballet class. It's possible I lucked out and had a good class. I would get sore primarily in my abs and my legs--especially my calves! While it wasn't a real ballet class, whenever we did anything like releves, plies, tendus, etc. I did try my best to do them correctly, though this was difficult once we got to 15-20th one (eek!)

Link to comment
  • 4 months later...

I took a Barre class at my local gym. I am desperate to get back into ballet after taking a haiatus having my kids. Now I am itching to get back into shape a bit before I attend a class. So I was hoping a Barre class at my goal m would hit the spot.

I was very disappointed. It turned out to not be a ballet strengthening class based upon ballet technique at all. It was basically a calesthenics class that had a Barre you were encouraged to death-grip in order to do fifty more leg pulses and glute squeezes. No turn out was used and ligne was not important. We did traditional muscle conditioning with some eleve and squats trying to masquerade as plies while pumping iron. Bummed!!!

So now I'm searching for a class, as my old studio closed down due to retirement of the owner. <tear>

Link to comment

At the risk of going off topic, I've found Sleek Technique to be pretty good when classes close down over the summer. There is quite a lot of tradional barre and some extra conditioning too. Obviously you'll have to correct yourself. Some of the exercises are quite tough (well I found them so).


On their website, they run live classes. I don't know how this works, but I assume you setup your laptop or PC with webcam, do the class which they stream and the teachers can see you via webcam and offer corrections. My coal fired computer doesn't support webcam, but if I ever upgrade I'm going to investigate this for the summer class recess

Edited by GTLS Designs
Removed Links
Link to comment
  • 3 months later...

One of my teachers ran a Ballet Barre 45 min class for 6 weeks. It was real ballet and worked as a very good warm up for class that followed. Unfortunately numbers started at 6 and dwindled to a private lesson for me at the end. I think it depends if the teacher is a ballet teacher or just a fitness instructor. Locally there are Latin dance fitness classes run by a dance teacher that are excellent and dancing and others run by a fitness instructor which seem to be more fitness to dance music. You pay your money and take your choice.

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

IME these "barre fitness" classes are to actual ballet as Zumba is to Latin dance and Jazzercize is to jazz dance. They incorporate some of the moves and the music of the genres that inspired them, but they are no substitute for actual ballet, Latin or jazz dance instruction. They have their place for folks who just want a fun form of exercise, and for serious dancers who want an additional exercise/conditioning opportunity, but they are not dance training.

My teacher offers something called Balletone and one of the classes meets before one of my ballet classes, so I've seen the tail end of a few Balletone sessions. A couple of the ladies in my ballet class also take this class. I don't know if there is any barre work involved, as I only see the end, which involves lots of stretching on yoga mats. It doesn't look very ballet-ish to me, but for those who aren't serious or even semi-serious about ballet, it doesn't have to.

Personally I have no interest in "ballet-inspired" classes. I want to do actual ballet. But these alternatives have their place and their audience/customer base.

Link to comment

I love your analogy !  The barre is really only used as a prop to do calisthenics on and in my area it isn't even used for more than half the class then it is to the floor using small props and weights doing some pseudo pilate type exercises on a pseudo yoga mat while holding a prop. 

I've searched for outlets outside of ballet to keep in shape when our studios go on break and finally found a good yoga class of the vinyasa flow type that doesn't bore me to tears.:rolleyes:


Link to comment

Sounds like we all feel the frustration !! I was and still am looking for a class, at this point anything, that isn't boring or tedious. There just isn't enough ballet classes in my area that I can attend without quitting my job. 

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...