“Why do we have to do barre work every time we have a class?” Young ballet students ask this question all the time. The young dancers want to get right to work center floor. After all, center and across the floor is the fun part! Below is an explanation of “why” we do what we do to warm up our muscles.
Plies– to warm up the leg muscles and stretch the heel tendons (Achilles tendon)
Tendues– to warm up the muscles of the feet and ankles; for use of the foot against the floor.
Degages– to warm up the muscles of the feet and ankles; preparation of quick jumps
Grande Battements– to loosen the leg in the hip socket for leg extension in large jumps in the center
Rond de Jambe attere– for rotation of the leg in the hip socket in preparation for grande rond de jambe en l’air
Frappes– for control of the thigh; for quick stretch of the foot for jumps
Petit Battements– for control of the thigh; preparation for beats
Rond de Jambe en l’air– for control of the thigh; for flexibility in the knee; preparation for similar allegro; rond de jambe saute and gargouliade
Fondu– for bending and stretching of the knees; for strength through resistance
Developpe/Adagio– for coordination of the legs arms and head; for balance especially on one foot; for a sense of style and grace
Retires– preparation for developpe; retire releve and pirouettes
Releves– preparation for pointe work
Retire Releves– preparation for pirouettes