Ballet Exercises - Barré Combinations

by AJ

Ballet Exercises - Barré Combinations

Hi Odette! I'm taking a placement class for a specific level at a dance studio. I'm 14, and I know intermediate barre combinations, that I practice everyday (plie, tendu, degage, frappe...) but now it's too easy for me. I was hoping you could give me some advance level barre work combinations, that I could practice, so I'll be prepared. I need something for tendu, degage, frappe, rond de jambe, and devloppe. Also could you include center tendu ( I'm really bad at that!) Thank you so much! I love your website! This will really help me!


Reply by Odette
To:- Ballet Exercises - Barré Combinations

Hello AJ,
Thank you for contacting me on ballet exercises it is a pleasure to hear from you. I will sure give you some suggestions for what you could include in barre work, but also ask your teacher as I am sure she will be willing to take some time to show you some combinations. That way, you can get a clearer structure to what you could practice to be prepared.

For tendus, you could incude faster footwork so it is more challenging and testing your center of balance. Try varying the tendus, so include a plie or transfer, and alternate your tendus so you change your supporting leg. Aim to be able to transfer you weight whilst still having control and precision.

For frappes, you can repeat the combination on demi-pointe as well as on flat to challenge your strength in ankle for pointe work. Also include a battement serré to gain quick footwork, also on demi-pointe. Often, in frappe exercises there is a balance in retire at the end of the combination so try this and you can also add a single pirouette before the balance.

For rond de jambe, the combination tends to be longer at a more advanced level to test your stamina. As well as a set of plain set of rond de jambs, you can add a quicker pace rond de jamb en l'air, not too high yet, and petit developpe from the front to the back. Also, a port de bras can be included at the end such as a deep lunge or a full circle port de bras in fifth position.

For developpe, a higher rond de jambe en l'air at 90 degrees is always a challenge for advanced levels. Maintaining the height of the leg and control of the body is something that needs to be practiced. Again, you can also repeat the combination on demi-pointe for a real challenge. Include developpes in every position - front, back and side, as well as a ponchee in arabesque at advanced levels.

For tendus in the center, this is hard. Even professional dancers still work hard to find the stability in the center and strength in the ankles to stay stable without wobbles. You can include tendus devant and derriere facing croisé, as well as a la second en face or even changing direction. It is the changing alignment and direction that is included at more advanced levels, also transfering your weight from one foot to the other. There can also be a simple pirouette at the end of the exercise, such as a releve in fitth and retire before doing a controlled single turn both left and right.

I hope these suggestions help. To form a proper structured combination it may be clearer to ask your teacher to help so you can see which steps to add where.

It is a great idea to be prepared. If in doubt, make the exercises longer for a challenge and often in more advanced combinations there is more demi-pointe and faster footwork.

Best wishes,

ps. To become the best dancer you can be, learn the Seven Secrets ..... go to my 'Seven Secrets of Ballet' page

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