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Refine your grace with a ballet barre

Barre is a French word and a ballet term used to describe the piece of fitness equipment that provides support for dancers during several types of exercise. Barres are usually stationary handrails fixed to walls and are used mainly for ballet training and warm up exercises. These exercises are known as barre work. Ballet barres can also be used to improve both flexibility and fitness.

Ballet barres can also be portable, also known as freestanding, and can be positioned anywhere on the floor. These are adjustable to adapt the bar height, which is ideal for children.

Some barres have two parallel handrails at different heights to accommodate people of differing heights, i.e. for students with differing heights in a ballet class.

The Ballet Barre handrails and supports are made from either metal, plastic, word or a blend of these materials.

Normally found located in dance studios, ballet barres can also be bought for home use. Wherever the barre is used, it is best to practise in front of a large mirror to check that the exercises are being performed correctly.

Setting the ballet barre

Wall-mounted or freestanding bars are not particularly expensive to buy. PVC is cheaper than wood, but wood usually maple or oak is the material traditionally used. Portable ballet barres are convenient if sharing a dance studio as they are easy to pack away.

Wall mounted ballet barres require more space as they are a permanent fixture, note they cannot be adjusted once fixed to the wall. They also require brackets, screws and plugs to secure to the wall, where they can be set at the desired height. Ideal for ballet or dance studios.

Dancers practising at home may have limited space so a freestanding portable barre is preferable as it is easy to store. The mounted horizontal round rail sits between the two legs. Some portable barres lie flat against a wall after folding. There are plenty of ballet DVDs to practice too if aiming to improve from beginner to advanced levels from the comfort of your home.

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