Four Ways to Train at Home Without a Ballet Barre
All you need is a Stable surface to train like you’re in the studio!
We all miss studio time. The familiar routine of changing shoes, layering on dance clothes and chatting with fellow dancers while we warm up at the barre before class starts. We still have our shoes and leotards, but what about a ballet barre for home?
Fortunately, the primary purpose of the barre is to help you to balance – and any stable surface in your home can do the job!
When selecting something around your home to be your ballet barre, you’ll want to be sure that it’s similar in height to the barre you use in the studio – and preferably somewhere you can set up your phone or laptop to follow along on zoom, Instagram or YouTube classes! A good guide is that the home barre should be slightly below your shoulder height.
Here are four great choices you can use as your ballet barre for home.
1) Kitchen Counter
I have a lot of fond memories of testing my flexibility on every surface I could find in my house – chairs, railings, and my favourite, the kitchen countertop! It was just the right height for me, and long enough that I could lean down to grab an ankle while keeping my leg supported.
No, it wasn’t proper ballet use – but it was my favourite way to stretch!
It’s also an ideal place to set up your device for streaming lessons.
The great thing about using a bookshelf as your at home barre is that you have your choice of heights – by clearing the books off one shelf you give yourself a good grip, and you can add weight to a lower shelf to keep your “barre” stable. It might even inspire you to pick up one of the books that’s been stuck on the shelf for way too long! A nice warm bath and a book is the perfect way to unwind after a class.
3) Chair or stool
It may be simpler to find a chair that is the right height for your training than another object around your home. A chair may not be as stable as a countertop or table, but it is very portable! Putting the chair on carpet or a yoga mat will make it extra stable. The chair back also allows you to grip more like you would a traditional barre.
4) Fence or Railing
If you have some outdoor space, you can use a garden fence, gate, or the railing of your deck or balcony to be the perfect ballet barre. You’ll be training with a view! Now that the weather is nice, I expect we’ll see a lot of virtual summer dance intensive participants training outdoors in the sunshine (provided they have good WiFi of course)!
Whatever object you decide to use, remember that all of us dancers are out there being creative right now and finding unique ways to train. I was inspired to write this article after viewing many instagram posts of professional dancers training at home using whatever happened to be nearby. Hardly any of them used a stand-alone or wall-mounted ballet barre.
Whatever you choose to use as your ballet barre for home training, be sure that you are safe, have a nice clear area to dance, use the proper footwear, and put everything back where it belongs after your class