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.
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.