Ask Amy: How Can I Make Barre Less Boring?

November 29, 2017

Sometimes barre just seems so boring, and my teacher makes us repeat everything. Is there a way to make class more fun? —Natalie

If you’re bored in ballet class, it’s easy to blame the teacher. But there are always new challenges to discover, no matter how repetitive the sequences are. Even if your instructor’s combinations are uninspired, it’s not really her job to entertain you—she’s giving you exercises to help you improve. It’s up to you to make something out of them. Repetition isn’t about drudgery—it’s a chance to build upon what you’ve just achieved.

That said, we’ve all been there. While you shouldn’t change your teacher’s combinations to suit your preferences, you can challenge yourself in other ways, like taking your hand off the barre to test your balance or holding your développé until the last possible second. Find one or two specific things to focus on during each combination—perhaps you can improve your footwork during tendus or hold less tension in your hands. You can also use the repetition as an opportunity to focus on your artistry. Listen for accents and syncopations, or try connecting your breath with your port de bras. Paying attention to the quality of your movement can help make class more fun.

If you slack off during barre,

you’re sabotaging

the rest of your class.

Barre isn’t something to “get through”—it sets you up for more complicated exercises later in class. Those grueling fondus will translate to powerful jumps. Those simple temps liés? They form the basis of every transition step in the book. If you’re not paying attention, you’re missing precious opportunities to improve.

Have a question? Send it to
Pointe editor and former dancer Amy Brandt at [email protected].