Whether or not your students perform ballet in your studio, a ballet barre is of vital importance. It may be called a “ballet” barre, but it is a necessity no matter your style of dance. With a ballet barre, you can perform exercises that help to improve flexibility and develop the strength and endurance that are critically important to the performing arts.

Now, the first big decision you will make in selecting your barre...

how to choose the perfect ballet barres

Freestanding or Wall Mounted?

There’s no “best” choice between freestanding ballet barres and wall-mounted ballet barres. They both have their pros and cons, and it depends on what you need for your studio. Let’s weigh the benefits of each option.

The Benefits of a Freestanding Ballet Barre

  • Flexibility. Freestanding barres can be moved around the studio as needed, and if you ever need an extra barre, it’s relatively easy to bring one in.
  • Ease of Assembly: The stress of installing a wall mount barre is removed, a simple assembly is all that is required. If you share your studio space, meaning that you’re not allowed to simply start installing new fixtures into the structure, then freestanding barres may actually be your only option.
  • Freestanding barres can be used from both sides. If you have a large class, this can be a big help. Utilizing freestanding barres in the middle of your studio will help accommodate more students. The height can easily be adjusted so you can have taller dancers on one side and shorter on the other with a lowered barre.

The Benefits of a Wall Mounted Ballet Barre

  • Stability. With proper assembly, an Alvas freestanding ballet barre is the most stable available, but a well-installed wall-mounted barre guarantees stability.
  • One-time installation. It’s nice walking into your studio and knowing that everything you need is already in place. You don’t need to expend energy moving a freestanding barre around, and you don’t need to worry about putting it away when you’re already exhausted from the day’s training.
  • Aesthetics. Some people simply prefer the look of a wall-mounted barre. If you have a dedicated dance studio, the appearance of a ballet barre mounted on a wall creates an elegant, professional look. This will keep additional equipment off the floor, making cleaning that much easier.

There’s no “best” choice between freestanding ballet barres and wall-mounted ballet barres. They both have their pros and cons, and it depends on what you need for your studio. Let’s weigh the benefits of each option.

What Else Needs to be Considered?

Once you’ve gotten the freestanding/wall mounted decision out of the way, there are still as many styles of ballet barre as there are styles of dance. Here’s what you’ll need to think about when making your choice:

  • Natural wood or aluminum? This often comes down to personal preference. Aluminum can offer a modern, sleek look but cold to the touch. Natural wood is warm to the touch and lends your studio a more classical appearance.
  • What type of wood? The go-to option is poplar. A relatively inexpensive but strong wood that should suit most ballet studios. Oak and maple are denser, and some people prefer the look of these woods to poplar, but poplar is strong enough to handle the needs of most dance studios.
  • Custom or ready-made? Ballet barres are typically available at lengths up to sixteen feet. Beyond that, they become impractical to produce and to ship. You’ll want to measure your studio space and buy the appropriate size of barre. If you have a lot of walls to cover, you’ll probably want to buy two or three barres and join them.

Installation

Finally, if you’re using wall-mounted barres, you’re going to need to consider how you’re going to install them.

  • Proper height. The ideal height for a ballet barre is the waist level of the user. Since most studios have both children and adults using the barres the typical heights are; Single barre: 32’’ – 46’’ from the floor, Double barre: 32’’ – 34’’ from floor lower barre and 44’’ – 46’’ from floor upper barre.
  • DIY or professional installation? If you’re not experienced with this sort of work, get a contractor. A poorly mounted barre can result in damage to the building and injury to your dancers.
  • What about the brackets? Brackets are a relatively simple decision to make: Fixed, adjustable, or double adjustable? Fixed brackets are nice and permanent, but adjustable brackets allow for some flexibility you won’t get with a one-and-done fixed bracket, allowing you to change your mind about the height in the future.

It all comes down to your needs. Do you train both adult and child dancers? How big are your classes? Is this your own space, where you’re allowed to make permanent changes, or a shared studio? Keep all of these considerations in mind and the choice should become clear.

Sources:

  • http://vitavibe.com/assets/images/Guides/WC14.pdf
  • https://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/decorating/different-types-wood
  • https://www.thestudiodirector.com/blog/installing-a-ballet-barre-in-your-studio