Teaching with a Set Barre

ballet black and pink 2



With the beginning of each dance season, in September, I teach a set of barre work that we will do each class for the entire season. The set of barre work is choreographed according to the level of ballet that we are beginning and is advanced as each season begins. A barre syllabus to be more explicit. Dancers often ask me why, we do the same barre work for an entire year. I will begin here, why and the necessity of a Set Barre.

To begin, in many small local studios, ballet class is a once per week maybe twice per week class. I am not an advocate of this method, but many families are on a set budget, and to allow their dancer to experience several styles of dance, only one or two ballet classes per week is their only financial option. For this primary reason, is why I like a Set Barre. The dancer who only takes a minimum of ballet classes per week will get to memorize the sequence in the beginning of the season and will eventually be able to correct themselves, and bring their work to excellence without having to concentrate on barre choreography.

Using a Set Barre allows the teacher to rotate some combinations. For example, some barrework will be done every class, such as plies tendus, ron de jambe and grand battements. Others every other class and some just here and there to review as the season progresses and gets more complicated with center and across the floor work. This enables the teacher to save time during the period of the year when the dancers are cramming to learn choreography for a performance. By repeating the same concepts the dancers have time to actually master the skills and their body has time to memorize positions the feet need to be in.

Another reason for a Set Barre is that when using a graded syllabus, the barre exercises correspond to the grade. In other words as the dancer moves up level by level each year so does the set of barre work. The barre combinations, needless to say, become more difficult and complicated with each level of ballet training. This is a proven method, that shows results in training, of how a dancer progresses at a slow continuous rate, as ballet training should be.

Learn your barre combinations each year so you may do them without thought of choreography, but just a thought of a good warm up. A warm up to excellence…..

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