BARRE WARMUP FROM FORMER BALLERINA BROOKE MCAULEY
Having danced for years in the Australian Ballet, Brooke McAuley understands the importance of movement, for mind, body, soul and spirit. Before heading toes first into a workout, Brooke stresses the importance of preparation.
She passionately talks to us through all the terminology and requirements to have you moving through air effortlessly so you can embrace the ‘nothing-can-beat’ feeling of dancing.
Nothing quite compares to the challenge of a ballet class workout!
Barre is the very first thing a ballet dancer will start her/his day with. To a dancer, barre is like brushing your teeth before leaving the house
It warms up our instrument, fine tunes our body’s alignment and builds stability on the standing leg. It would be a crime to go straight into a rehearsal or performance without doing barre first!
The idea of barre, is to prepare you for centre. You’ll start small with ‘Pliés’ - the foundation of most ballet exercises, a bend and stretch movement which is essentially getting your legs ready for big athletic jumping movements later in the class.
Position featured above - Plié
Next comes ‘Tendues’ & ‘Jetés’ these are movements of the legs, pointing in and out across the floor which helps with weight bearing, ankle/foot mobility and prepares our feet for landing safely from jumps!
Following these steps are movements like ‘Frappé’ - commonly known as a Starbucks beverage, but in our world it’s the short and sharp, striking action of the leg, which prepares us for ‘Petite Allegro’ (small jumps) in the centre.
Next up is ‘Fondu’, yes, like the cheese, meaning ‘to melt’ - which is a slow single legged plié, which can be used as a gateway to balancing on one leg for pirouettes in the centre.
Position featured above - Fondu
The last few movements at the barre finish with ‘Adage’ - slow, high extensions of the legs, where we can practice our ‘arabesque’, then onto ‘Grand Allegro’ throwing the legs up high into the sky for those impressive ‘Grand Jetés’ (flying splits) you’ll see, and finishing with 32 slow, painful, non-stop calf rises, that’s per leg!
Position featured above - Adage
By the end of a 30-minute barre, you’re a sweaty hot mess and ready to do it all over again in the centre for a full hour - but with more advanced steps, pointe shoes on, and no barre for balance.
Like I said, nothing quite compares to a ballet workout and the feeling of dancing.
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