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Ballet provides a great foundational dance technique that can be applied across many dance genres. And in an ideal world, dancers could squeeze in a ballet class with qualified instructors and talented piano accompanists daily. Unfortunately, taking dance class is not always cheap and can seem like a tall order with a busy schedule; so at-home ballet practice is a convenient way to maintain dance technique. (You don’t even have to squeeze into a leotard, put on ballet slippers or throw your hair in a bun!) These online ballet classes will help you to keep dancing on days when you can’t get to the studio. Try these easy-to-follow ballet barre warm-ups below.

These YouTube ballet videos helped me to get back on track after five years of not dancing. I danced ballet every day for 10 days, following these simple online ballet classes.  

1. A Short and Sweet Ballet Barre

For When You’re Busy

Although this YouTube ballet barre warm up comes from Ballerinas by Night, you can easily complete this dance class in before you head to work in the morning. The barre exercises are simple and easy to remember, but the instructors offer modifications to adjust the difficulty, too. In front, Abby completes the barre as demonstrated; while Jana demonstrates ways to simplify the ballet barre in back.

More advanced dancers can always add more arm movements and let the whole body sing by utilizing épaulement where appropriate. (This refers to the active posturing of the head, neck and shoulders. And although these épaulement movements are very small, they definitely enhance the ballet aesthetic.) You will receive dance tips while you learn the combinations during the demo, but only music plays during the actual exercises, so you can dance freely.

2. A Calming Ballet Barre

For When You Want to Bliss Out

If you’re looking for a relatively easy and easy-going ballet class, check out the classical barre and short stretching session with Melody Smith of Ballet24. Her class is equally calming, with lovely music, and bright. This simple ballet barre is really time-efficient, too, since Melody cues the exercises and adds corrections while you dance. (This means you don’t spend lots of time standing around just to learn the combinations.)

And because half of the class is dedicated to stretching, there are no high legs during this barre – essentially just plié, battement tendu, battement dégagé and a tiny fondu section. Keeping the working legs to 45 degrees or lower will allow you to really focus on maintaining level hips and long, extended working legs. The online ballet class continues with a relaxing stretching section that coordinates movement with the breath, and it finishes with a lovely reverence. After you take your last curtsy, you’ll feel absolutely divine.  

3. An Energetic Ballet Barre

For When You Need Encouragement

Although ballet newbies will be able to easily grasp the short ballet barre exercises relatively easily, Alessia Lugoboni’s enthusiastic online ballet barre warm up commentary will most help at-home students with more dance experience. For example, ballet newbies could easily be baffled by the “Don’t cashew that foot!” order and the advice to “iron the floor” during battement tendu exercise. However ballet students with poetic former teachers would interpret the metaphors to strongly point the toes all the way through the metatarsal and not to allow the toes to rotate in from the ankle, causing a sickled shape. The image of ironing the floor would encourage experienced students to firmly brush their feet across the floor, rather than lazily letting it glide while initiating leg movement by flexing from the hip.

Alessia offers many less abstract tips during her exercise voiceover; eg: “Don’t hang on the barre like a monkey” and to keep the shoulders down – even when the arms are raised over head in fifth position. Although her ballet YouTube Channel is called Lazy Dancer Tips, she enumerates many possible ways to improve your technique. This is an upbeat and encouraging online ballet class.

4. A Ballet Barre with Beautiful Music

For When You Just Want to Dance

The novelty of ballerina Kathryn Morgan’s classical barre warm-up is that it comes in two versions: one with exercise introductions and an express version. When you want to dance without nit-picking at your technique, choose the ballet barre sans demonstrations. You can just hit the play button and float along to the music. If you’ve been practicing ballet for a while, the opportunity to dance uninterrupted and to settle into your own body without corrections will be a treat.

Following this musical online ballet barre is like the ballet version of taking ‘you’ time. You can dance to your heart’s delight and simply enjoy moving to the music. (Plus, Kathryn has selected great show tunes, such as ‘For Good’ from Wicked and ‘Masquerade’ from Phantom of the Opera.) This beautiful ballet barre may help you remember why you wanted to dance in the first place: to find joy and freedom in physical expression.

5. A Solid All-Around Ballet Barre

For When You Want a Variety of Exercises 

Although many non-dancers may be attracted to the YouTube title, “Ballet Beginner Barre for Long Lean Muscles,” instructor Desiree Errico certainly isn’t a novice dancer. She holds some serious dance credentials and a certification in Pilates mat courses, which encouraged her to blend ballet, barre fitness and Pilates into her unique brand: Dansique Fitness. Happily, this online ballet barre resembles an actual ballet class – rather than a fitness enthusiast fudging through the basics. Throughout, Desiree draws upon her knowledge of anatomy and offers helpful tips for proper alignment.   

This short ballet barre takes approximately 20 minutes (if you fast forward through the introduction). Desiree speaks over the elegant music, but some of the verbal voiceover cues come after the exercises have already changed. However, if you keep your eye on the video when you expect a transition or change in pattern, you won’t miss a beat. The devoted développé and enveloppé section often gets skipped in shorter classes, as does a reverence, but this speedy Dansique Fitness class succinctly squeezes it all in.

Online Ballet Class: Ballet Barre Workouts Conclusion

Sharing dance knowledge via YouTube is such a wonderful use of technology. Thanks to generous dance experts, you can take ballet class online, like these short ballet barre warm ups, anywhere you have a bit of space and an internet connection. It’s also nice to have a full-length mirror. Admittedly, I didn’t have anything barre-height in my living room, so I spent my 10-day ballet journey dancing the barres as center practice… But you can buy a freestanding adjustable barre for your home practice.

Which ballet barre videos have you tried? And how did you find practicing at ballet home versus attending ballet class at a dance studio? Share your online ballet barre experiences in the comments below!

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