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 Post subject: BARRE-is it necessary?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2005 5:20 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2005 5:12 pm
Posts: 33
hello everyone,
i am pixie. i am new here.
i have some questions which i hope everyone could tell me your views.

is barrework necessary for ballet dancers? can dancers just do the same exercises in the centre without the barre?

and is barrework really a NEED for young children (age 7-10).

is the BARRE a dancing aid or a distraction or a reliance?

really appreciate your comments. please feel free to write.

many thanks.
*pixie*


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2005 5:59 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2000 12:01 am
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Location: Canada
Barre is an essential part of ballet. It's not an aid, not a distraction and should not be a reliance.

It provides a foundation for technique that one will eventually do in the center. Thus, ballet classes for younger children (not pre-ballet, which is really what most classes for those under 8 are) tend to be more at the barre than in the center. So for less experienced dancers, it is a kind of support, but as balance, muscles and core stability are developed, it becomes less and less of a reliance.

It also is a warm-up for center work and provides a chance for more focused work on certain steps and step sequences. I would never do center work without a good solid barre - and I can tell when I've been slacking at the barre or the barre is too short because I don't feel balanced in the center work.

And barre remains a vital part of ballet class - even professional dancers start at the barre and do a good 30 - 45 minutes of barrework before starting in the center.

I'm sure others will be more articulate in explaining why barre is so essential, but a ballet class without barre is not ballet.

Kate


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 4:14 pm 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
I agree with all ksneds points.

As dancers progress they do tend to do a centre section that consists of barre type exercise being performed in the centre. But even at this level the dancers will have performed an extensive barre.

Even with advanced dancers a good barre section will give a chance to iron out any niggles and as we have discussed before the barre can be designed specifically for a particular class so that the exercises particularly relate to combinations and steps to be used later in the class.

It is amazing as well how comforting routine can be even for the most advanced and experienced dancers. The barre gives a focus to the class, brings everyone together in the class away from the stresses and strains of everyday life. For all these reasons it is an integral part of any ballet class.

However I do agree that a barre can easily become a reliance and that as students advance they should reproduce some barre exercises in the centre or at least get students to take a hand off the barre at various stages during barre exercises to ensure that it is just being used for stability and not as a prop.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 6:50 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2005 5:12 pm
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thank you for your replies.

I was just wondering, if... just if. right from the beginning. right before the barre was introduced into a dance studio. if no one used the barre then, why do we need it now?

i understand that many aspects and expectations have been changed drastically. however, if everyone started dancing without the use of the barre since the early centuries, i believe, none of us will be needing one now.

don't you think the use of the barre is a tradition?

pixie


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 16, 2005 8:12 pm 
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Location: San Francisco
My first teacher was in the habit of giving us an occasional "center barre". I never felt as warmed up after it as I did after a regular barre. I had the same experience when I took a ballet class at San Francisco State many, many years ago. The class was taught in a gym and there was no barre, so every barre was done sans barre.

Of course, if dancers had never started using the barre, everyone would be used to it. But I think the technique might have developed differently.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 6:24 pm 
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pixie wrote:
thank you for your replies.

I was just wondering, if... just if. right from the beginning. right before the barre was introduced into a dance studio. if no one used the barre then, why do we need it now?

i understand that many aspects and expectations have been changed drastically. however, if everyone started dancing without the use of the barre since the early centuries, i believe, none of us will be needing one now.

don't you think the use of the barre is a tradition?

pixie


No, it is essential to doing ballet. I would not dance at a school that did not have a 30 minute barre at each class. If you don't feel challenged at barre, then you have a bad teacher. Barre is the hardest work of the ballet class. If you think it's unnecessary then you must be in the wrong school or the wrong class, because it's apparent you don't understand the whole point of barre work.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 9:07 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2005 5:12 pm
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Thank you everyone for posting your views and comments.
I am writing my dissertation on the need for the barre for children ballet.

Children at the age of 6 to 8 may not fully understand the purpose of the barrework. Do you think barrework for children this age is necessary? Can these preparation-for-centrework exercises be replaced with other forms of exercise, eg floor barre?

Thank you once again.
*pixie*


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 2:10 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Pixie,

It is a very interesting one for that age group. Before 8 we have generally come to the consensus that what children are doing is not ballet but pre-ballet. Therefore is a barre necessary?

I know of classes and syllabi that do both. A lot of the exercises for this age group consist of travel - gallops, skips etc and I suppose most pre-ballet classes contain a floor barre of sorts - just thinking of things like good toes, naughty toes for example.

A barre is useful for this age group for things like plies. Even if we are not pushing for full turnout from this age, posture is often hard to achieve in the centre as bottoms stick out and balance is hard achieve. A barre is useful then to give stability to the young child while the teacher assists posture and placing.

However the barre is only useful in these circumstances if the child knows how to use it i.e they are not just hanging off of it or leaning on it.

My view is at that young age barre work is useful for certain exercises but perhaps should be limited to only a couple of exercises. The rest of the class for pre-ballet should be about movement and creativity.

But that is only my opinion .....


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 7:47 pm 
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I agree with Joanne on the question of young children. A good floor barre routine is often more beneficial than a standing barre routine. I think 8 year olds can do barre work, and I have done barre work with 6-7 year olds successfully. But I have also been successful with floor-barre for this age group. It depends on the maturity of the class and how often they take class. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 5:19 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2005 5:12 pm
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dear all...
thank you so very much (once again) for posting your comments. it has been tremendous help to me.

Does anyone has any suggestions or ideas of some floor barre exercises for children (around 7-8 years). and let me know if you have tested it out yourself either through your own personal experience or by teaching it.

Greatly appreciate all your contributions.

Have a lovely weekend ahead :)
*pixie*


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2005 10:56 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 678
Location: Petaluma, California
Hello, pixie...The following are some simple floor exercises I do with this age group:

Sit with soles of the feet together and gently press knees down. In this same position, I have them practice "poor posture" (they "slump") and then I have them sit tall with "good posture".

Sit with legs extended in front, toes pointed; bend at hips and extend body over legs, hands reaching for the toes. Repeat with flexed feet.

Sit in a straddle and stretch to either side. I then have them "walk" forward with their hands (still in the straddle) to a "pancake" position (gym term).

Lay face down on floor, lift chest, lift and support body with hands (hands face forward between ears and shoulders) and arch back (let head go back, too). I tell them to "glue" their feet together for the stretch.

Lay on back and draw knee up to chest (other leg extended on floor)

And finally, their favorite: Kitty Kats. On hands and knees, round back with head dropped, then arch back with head and chin lifted. We often "Meow" when performing this exercise... :D

I would be very interested in what floor "barre" exercises Wild Rose does with this age group. I'm always on the lookout for new ideas... :)


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