fbpx Skip to content

Sample Class: Raising the Barre

Take your barre class to the next level by adding equipment and intervals, and bring new life to your tendus and passés! Students will gain postural and body awareness while increasing their strength and cardiovascular health. This class touches on all levels and is fantastic for cross-training.

Barre Strength & Interval Details

Goal/Emphasis: postural awareness, strength, cardiovascular conditioning
Total Time: 45-60 minutes
Equipment: one Body Bar® per participant; BOSU® Balance Trainer (optional)
Music: 125-130 beats per minute

Warm-Up (no bar) (10-12 minutes)

The warm-up is slightly extended because as participants focus on technique and posture, they’re already getting deeper into the movements. Cue them to feel the ground all the way through their feet, and help them find proper alignment and posture. Use this phase to cue technical and kinesthetic responses that participants will return to throughout class. For example, you might say, “Zip up your inner thighs each time you come back to center. Imagine there’s a string coming out of the top of your head, pulling you up to the ceiling.”


  • tendus front, side and back
  • demi-pliés, first position
  • demi-pliés, second position
  • toe presses (rolling up through entire foot, starting with heel and going all the way to ball of foot, then rolling back down)
  • relevés
  • pliés, to recover
  • toe presses and relevés, second position

Work/Focus Phase (~25-40 minutes total)

Sauté Jump Sequence 1
This sequence introduces the Body Bar, which remains on the floor in the vertical position (at midline of body) for light support.

  • Cue participants to use bars for balance checks only. Encourage students to stabilize through technique and core strength.
  • Let students know they can also do jumps on the BOSU trainer with bar in same position. Watch to make sure they maintain control. Give safety cues as needed.

Half-Moon Bar Raises (8 full reps)

  • From first position, lift bar overhead (arms are fully extended and remain that way throughout).
  • Slowly take bar right (R) and then left (L).
  • Create semicircle over head, gradually increasing range of motion. This prepares lateral muscles and allows participants to check form and change weights if necessary.

Place bar on floor in vertical position, at midline of body.

  • Do 16 slow sauté jumps, first position, 4 counts; end and stick plié.
  • Do 16 sauté jumps, first position, 2 counts each (32 jumps if participant ability allows); end and stick plié.
  • Do series of gentle pliés to recover. Allow participants to “shake out” legs if they need to.

Note: This is a difficult series, so adjust accordingly.

  • Repeat sauté jump series, second position.
  • Repeat one more time, both first and second positions.
  • End with half-moon bar raises.

Interval Choreography 1: Jazz Example (4 minutes)

Use the jazz sequence below or create your own (no bar).

  • Pick interval (instructor’s choice) for push phase. Repeat through one song (e.g., do 30 seconds of work followed by 15 seconds of recovery).
  • Give yourself approximately 30 seconds at song’s start to teach base sequence so class is ready when intervals start.
  • During recovery, keep people moving with one basic move that matches your dance genre (not from combo). Encourage recovery.

Sample Jazz Sequence

  • Chassé R (1, 2); turn (3, 4); kick ball change 2x.
  • Repeat L.
  • Get creative with arms, but not too complicated. Emphasize increased heart rate, not intricate movement.

Note: On turn, show alternative/modification as cross-step (facing forward).

Ballet Strength

Arm Series (with bar)

  • front tendu slowly, with overhead military press
  • military-press pulses, up to tempo, at top half
  • side tendu slowly with one arm (same side as leg); bent-arm lateral raise
  • lateral-raise pulses, up to tempo, at top half
  • back tendu with triceps lift (elbows facing back wall)
  • Repeat all.

For more exercises, please see “Sample Class: Barre Strength & Interval” in the online IDEA Library or in the October 2013 issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you do not receive IDEA Fitness Journal and would like to, please contact IDEA’s Inspired Service Team at (800) 999-4332, ext. 7, or (858) 535-8979, ext. 7, for more information.

Jamie G. Smith

Jamie G. Smith is the creator and presenter for Latin Blaze®. She is a dance fitness specialist with over 20 years’ experience and an ACE and AFAA continuing education provider. Find out more at www.LatinBlaze.com.

Related Articles