Ballet is one of the most beautiful, respectful, and polite dance forms. There is something that transforms the typical ballet dancer into a king and queen from eons ago. After only a few years of dancing, you’ll realize just how amazing ballet is – it’s like an addiction you can’t kick.
Whether you’re newly interested in ballet or you have been performing this art form for years, you need to be aware of ballet barre etiquette. Because manners have also drastically changed over the years, everyone needs a quick reminder about how to conduct yourself when you’re working at the barre.
And, remember, it’s a barre. Not a bar!
Here are five etiquette tips for using ballet barres:
1. Find an Open Spot
There are many other boys and girls standing at the barre, honing their posture and practicing steps. With this in mind, there is one thing you should never do: kick somebody out from their spot.
You may be late or you may have stepped out for a moment, but it is up to you find an open spot. If the studio is full and there is only one spot open, then you need to take it, even if it’s located right in front of the instructor or near an open window.
2. Let Others Know Your Spot
Your fellow ballet dancers need to know if a barre spot is reserved or open. While you don’t need to write down your name on a 3X5 card, you can still inform others that the spot is taken. How? That’s simple: leave a slipper or a sweater on the ground.
Should you fail to adopt this strategy, then your spot could be taken. And, unfortunately, that is fair game, so don’t go complain to your teacher.
3. Be Aware of Your Space
There is only a finite amount of space at the barre. Unless you’re a multi-million-dollar studio in the heart of Paris with decades of lineage, space will remain tight. That said, it is up to you to be aware of the space in your immediate vicinity.
If the space is tight, then be clever by angling toward the bar with a wide variety of battements and extensions. It’s the only way to avoid colliding with your peers or hitting someone.
4. It’s Not a Hangout Destination
A lot of novice dancers treat the ballet barre like it is a bar. But It isn’t. It’s a part of the classroom where you perfect your posture, correct a dance misstep, or do anything else related to your ballet training.
In other words, you’re not there to socialize, chat about last night’s Netflix binge, or complain about the teacher. It’s OK to utter a few sporadic words, but the barre is for perfecting your craft.
5. Shut Off Your Phone
When was the last time you went to the ballet? It could have been Sergei Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet” or Pytor Tchaikovksy’s “Swan Lake.” You may have noticed one thing: someone’s phone went off.
This is a distraction and an annoyance – not just for the audience but for the dancers as well.
As soon as you walk through the studio doors, it is your responsibility to either mute your smartphone or shut it off entirely. But it’s better to have it off because then you don’t run the risk of one ringer being on or receiving a message beep.
Ballet is a beautiful dance style. It is grace, passion, dedication, beauty. There is no other dance form that can compare to the loveliness of ballet. Whether you have just gotten started or you have been dancing in your free time for 13 years, you need to practice good barre etiquette, no matter how much you have perfected the Arabesque.