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“(Barre techniques) are to the dancer what scales and arpeggios are to the musician.”
A barre is a stationary handrail that provides support for dancers and athletes during training. Barres are used extensively in ballet as well as warm-up exercises. Commonly referred to as barre work, the use of barre for warm-up is also done in other types of dance and also in general fitness programs.
The design of a barrel is mainly dependent on whether the barre is to be portable or permanently affixed. All Barres typically consists of a handrail. For fixed barre, the handrail is mounted to and supported by a wall, while handrail in a portable barre is attached to a steady or adjustable, free-standing supporting structure. Instead of just one handrail, some barre has two parallel handrails at different heights to accommodate dancers with different heights.
Barres and its components are typically made of metal, wood, plastic or a combination of these materials.
Barre is to ballet is tap shoes to tap dance. It is used for both slow and fast exercises, which serve to strengthen muscles.
As in any workout routine, dancers start with slow exercises which include
Whereas fast exercises require dancers to maintain the precise ballet technique they have been working on. These exercises include:
Dancers strive to attain correct form which includes posture, feet positions, and arms, in all exercises, they perform on the barre.
Apart from the warm-up and stretching exercises, barre is an excellent way for dancers to start working on their stability and balance. In ballet especially, barre work is one of the most important parts of a beginner’s class.
Many instructors recommend using barre under supervision during and after injuries. From a rehabilitative standpoint, barre is an excellent way for dancers to get back in peak form when working their way toward health after an injury.
Because a dancer has support, barre is a great way to remain in touch with the dance form. Teachers and instructors often ask students to take it down a notch and keep practicing their moves with barre as support.
Ballet-inspired barre fitness classes are the latest rage. Barre classes mix elements of Pilates, dance, yoga and functional training with moves choreographed to motivating music. High energy targeted workouts help in stretching and sculpt your entire body.
Using barre for exercises is an ideal cross-training complement for the dancers. It allows dancers to work on their strength and flexibility. Whether you're finding your center in a series of pirouette turns or isolating tiny pop and lock movements in a hip-hop combo, barre helps work on strength and stability with low impact movements and an excellent way for dancers to remain lean, reliable and flexible.
For ballet, and most other dance forms, body alignment is very important, and therefore form-fitting clothes are ideal so both you and your instructor could check your posture and position in the mirror.
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As a dancer, it is very tempting to skip barre and go straight to the fun, across-the-floor movement.
But doing so is risky because the time spent on barre can have huge impacts on your body and dance form. Barre helps the muscles get trained for turnout and proper alignment while building stability on the standing leg. Barre also works on your core, and help you learn how to support yourself, watch each other, and listen to one another during partnering.
Any dance form, including ballet, is all about a dancer's relationship to time and space. Barre helps keep your body lifted and symmetrical. Barre at the beginning of the class supports the entire bunch of dancers come together as a class. "At the barre" is necessarily a time to concentrate on breathing and preparing yourself for dancing in tandem with the music that is going to follow.
You will see your instructor always talking about standing as tall as you can and to find proper alignment. Barre is indeed intended to prepare you for center work, but from the first preparation and plie, barre helps in maintaining your form and elegance. For many dancers, barre is a kind of physical therapy that provides a moment before the dance begins to tune up, tune-in to themselves and their dancing fraternity.
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This article is meant for informative purposes only, and all the exercises, workouts and suggestions mentioned herein are to be performed under strict supervision. Consult your medical practitioner before starting any form of dance or exercise for optimum results.