A barre helps dancers by providing a means of stability and balance and, consequently, barre work often comprises a significant portion of the beginning dancer's class. It is an essential tool when first learning foot placement technique, and also for beginning pointe dancers, who have not yet developed the strength and technique needed for pointe work. The barre continues to be an important tool in all levels of ballet. Barre work helps dancers prepare for partnering, with the barre simulating the support of a real partner.
When used for promoting general fitness, barre exercises may incorporate a wide variety of activities to increase stamina, flexibility and strength, including ballet movements that require balance and stimulate the core such as pliés and pirouettes.
Barre classes have become a popularized form of exercise. A barre class includes the use of the barre as a tool for repetitions of small, pulsing movements with emphasis on form, alignment and core engagement. Devices such as yoga straps, exercise balls and hand weights are sometimes used during barre classes. Barre classes draw from yoga as well as dance and pilates and focus on breath and the mind-body connection.
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