Ballet Barres: Making the Right Choice

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A ballet barre (choreographic) is a necessary element of any choreography class. Not one generation of dancers, ballet-masters, and choreographers was brought up on ballet barres. Exercises at the barre at any age will help you improve your physical condition and body shape. This simple device consists of supports and brackets to which a handrail is attached, made of wood, metal, or fiberglass.

A ballet barre is a pillar of support in mastering complex dance elements. Therefore, all self-respecting dance schools and studios are equipped with this construction. Many install ballet barres at home to have an opportunity to train more often.

All ballet barres are divided into single-level and two-level barres which can be stationary (mounted to the wall/floor) or portable.

Ballet barres may have different height of the bracket element mounted to the wall. This is necessary when the mounting height of the mirrors does not allow the use of a standard bracket with an upper mounting point. Therefore, custom brackets with a lower attachment point may be needed to change the height of a barre according to your needs.

Single-level ballet barres are convenient when a person or a group of about the same height or age is involved. Some single-level ballet barres can be adjusted to any height by raising the handrail higher or lower.

Single-level constructions are widespread in ballet schools. They are slightly different in weight and simplicity of the assembly.

A two-level ballet barre with parallel handrails allows people of different height and age to practice simultaneously. That explains the need for a second handrail. Children hold the lower rail, and adults – the upper rail. A standard height of the lower and upper levels are usually between 70 and 110 cm, respectively.

According to The Home Dweller article, professional ballet barres are made of durable metal with handrails of precious woods (oak or beech). Stationary ballet barres, attached to the wall, floor, or both, go with special anchors that extend into a wall and hold the barre reliably.

Handrails are better from oak or beech because these materials can withstand the highest intensity loads. Pine is also a popular material for those – more affordable than beech or oak at a price, but such handrails are more suitable for less intense exercise loads, i.e. better for beginners.

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How To Make A Wall-Mounted Ballet Barre

Building a ballet barre for home use is an excellent idea on many ends. For one, you get to work on your DIY skills, and it is thus a fulfilling experience. Secondly, you end up with a bar which you can use to practice your dance moves. With it, you can rehearse what you learn in school so that you can master the steps. It also enables you to make mistakes and learn from them.

Additionally, you get to experiment with various moves, and you should notice a change in your movements over time. The great thing about it is that you can use it whenever the mood strikes, allowing you to practice at your convenience. And if you are looking at it from a financial point of view, it means that you don’t have to rent space in a studio and you will thus save a lot of money. There are tons of reasons why one would install a ballet barre at home, with the ones above being some of the key motivators.

The barre is quite useful in dancing. One, it allows you to learn the basics in ballet and thus makes you a graceful dancer. Two, it enables you to strengthen your muscles, which is something that you will appreciate once you see how strong you’ve become with time. How can you make a barre to help you get the most out of your home dance studio?

You have two options: fixed and portable. The latter option works best for people who do not have adequate space to house a dance studio. It also works best for beginners who are yet to master some moves. However, if you have enough room for a ballet barre, the best option in your case is the fixed barre, and in this case, one that is on a wall. The stability offered by this barre allows you to not only conduct stretching exercises on the bar, but it also aids in helping you maintain balance as you move. Here is how you should go about this:

You should start by selecting the best location for the barre in your room. If you have a dance studio, the best place to have the bar would be on the wall near the mirror. In this way, you can see your movements, and this can help you in bettering your form and technique. If you do not have a studio, you can start by installing a mirror in a place that receives a lot of light before mounting the barre.

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You will need several materials for construction. However, that is not to say that the process is at all complicated. You will have fun doing it, and you could probably take up DIY projects in your free time as a result. Who knows?

This project features a single barre. For this, you will need wall anchors, screws, two brackets, and a ballet bar. The bar should be at least four feet long and can be of any of the following materials: wood, PVC and metal. You can have as many screws and wall anchors as you deem fit for the construction.

Material Selection

PVC, wood, and metal are all excellent choices when it comes to making a steady barre. However, they have some differences. PVC and wood are easy to work with, and they are thus great options for someone who is new to DIY. Metal, on the other hand, is difficult to work with, but it provides the most durability of all the three. Thus, if you are looking for a safe option, go with metal.

Measurements

Once you decide on what material works best for you, proceed by measuring how big your studio space is before getting a bar that can comfortably fit in the room. The diameter of the pipe should be about 1 ½ to two inches. You will find that most stores sell pipes in the ranges of ten feet. However, they are willing to cut the pipes in half, and you can look through your options to figure out where you can get a good deal on a bar.

You also need to decide how high the bar will be. Usually, the bar is about three and a half feet above the floor where the dancer is an adult. However, it all depends on the person as the measurements are as per the waist height. Where the intended user is a child, you will need to go much lower than this. You can also opt to have two bars mounted on the wall, where you are in doubt of what height will work best for you.

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Mounting

At this point, you need to decide where you will screw the brackets onto the wall. You can start by measuring three points on the wall on the same level as your chosen waist height. A level comes in handy in helping you ensure that the plane is parallel to the floor. Make some markings on the selected points and drill into the wall before inserting the wall anchors, ensuring that you use the appropriate anchors, based on the wall type. Next, fix the bar using a screw that goes into the bracket. Once the screw is secure, you can rest assured that the bar will not rotate when you use it. Do this for all the points.

A few rules for a ballet barre selection and installation process:

  • Minimal barre length is 1m, maximum – infinite.
  • The maximum distance between supports – 2 m. e.g. for a 2.5 m barre, you need 3 supports installed. If an intense load is planned, the construction can be strengthened by the additional support stand installation.
  • The minimal handrail-wall distance is 20-30 cm.
  • The handrail diameter is usually 5 cm, this is a well-chosen thickness for dancer’s convenience.
  • The floor and wall to which a ballet barre will be mounted must be smooth and of durable material (concrete, brick, etc.). If the surface does not allow mounting a stationary barre, then the portable bare installation is preferable.
  • Aim for reliable, comfortable, safe and high-quality ballet barres made to all standards. Pay attention to sharp protrusions and corners. All the supports and brackets should be processed and cleaned to eliminate the presence of “burrs” at welding sites to exclude the risk of injury. Handrails must be polished carefully, the handrail surface – smooth and burr-free.
  • A ballet barre installation process is best to be left to a professional with extensive experience.

Your ballet barre is now ready, and you can start practicing as soon as you would like!

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