The Language of Barre
April 23, 2018
Have you ever felt like you’re the only one in class who doesn’t know what’s going on? The class is fast, the cues can be confusing, and by the time you’re “bend-stretching” your working leg in round back, all bets are off that you know how to tell your right from your left. We know because we’ve been there! Understanding the terminology, poses, and positions can be the difference between taking class in your comfort zone or in your challenge zone.
Keep reading to learn the language of barre and make the most of your time in class.
This term is used in some exercises setups and/or choreography. It means to roll your tailbone under, grip your gluteus muscles, and pull your abdominals up and in toward your spine. Keep your low back neutral to avoid over-tucking and putting strain on your hip flexors. Use the mirrors in the room to check your alignment.
This common ballet term means to lift your heels up to rest on the balls of your feet. We relevé in thigh work to protect your knees as you load your muscles with your weight.
Point is when you extend your toes away from your shin. Flex is when you pull your toes up toward your shin giving you a calf and hamstring stretch. We alternate between these foot positions throughout class to transfer the work and stretch from the front to the back of your working leg.
This is a common, turned out stance in ballet and happens to be one of our favorite thigh exercises. We’ve incorporated this popular stance into a few more exercises throughout class because of the amazing body sculpting results it delivers. Place your feet wider than hip-width apart in a V shape, bend your knees out over your feet, and turn out from your hips.
The parallel stance is used frequently in both our exercises and stretches. It teaches you good alignment from the ground up. Place your feet directly under your hips with your feet and knees facing forward.
Our favorite part of the body! Your upper thigh and glutes area, where you sit.
A muscle contraction against resistance that doesn’t involve a change in the muscle length or joint position. Think contracting your glutes to create small movements in Foldover. This is why we encourage you to move in 1-inch increments to keep the contraction isometric.
A movement to the beat of the music done with a small range of motion. We love using this tempo at the end of a sequence of choreography for an energetic, strong finish!
Now that you’ve learned the language of barre, you can maximize your efforts and take your barre practice to the next level!