How high should a ballet barre be?

The definitive guide

When it comes to purchasing ballet barres, there are a number of considerations to take into account and one of the most important of these is the height of the barre itself. Quite often we here at Dinamica Ballet are asked to give a recommendation and as straight forward as the request seems, the answer is not so simple.

Today we’ve decided to finally put the issue to bed with the publication of this article to help guide you in determining the best height for your ballet barres. We’ve researched and collated information from a wide range of sources to present to you the most authoritative guide on the recommended height for ballet barres.

Will the ballet barre be for personal or public use?

It’s important to distinguish between barres for personal use and those intended for a studio. The reason is quite simple. A barre for private use should be specific to an individual’s height, whilst studio barres need to accommodate a range of people with different stature. This is especially true for a space that will be used by children and adults alike.

So let’s begin with a personal barre.

How high should a ballet barre be for an individual?

You can find many different recommendations on the internet for the height of a personal ballet barre. Unfortunately, most of the advice comes across as old wives tales, or is quoted as something that “a friend of a friend once said…” which isn’t particularly reassuring!

But if you delve into the most commonly made recommendations, you’ll find that they all suggest quite similar heights for a ballet barre. The following are the four most commonly made recommendations that can be found on various dance websites and forums:

The height of a ballet barre should be…

  1. “Level with your elbow”
  2. “At arm’s length, without raising your shoulder”
  3. “Level with where your hands are in the second position”
  4. “Between the hip and the waist”

And as the image shows, all these ideas fall within a similar range:

How high should a ballet barre be for an individual?

So based on this information, Dinamica Ballet recommends:

The height of a ballet barre should fall between your elbow (when the arm is resting) and the position of your hands in the second position

And the following ballet barres for an individual

International delivery available with all our barres

portable ballet barres Prima

Prima

Freestanding barre with a single short wooden beam

portable ballet barres Isa

Isa

Freestanding height adjustable barre

Fixed Ballet Barres

Arabesque Single

Fixed single row wall barres

Anything below the hip is too low and above the mid rib cage is too high.

A word of advice: when it comes to purchasing a barre for a child, we’d strongly recommend something that is height adjustable. Unlike that Sesame Street t-shirt that can be thrown out once it’s been outgrown; the cost of a ballet barre is significantly more. Therefore, making the investment in a height adjustable barre can offer better value for money in the long run.

How high should a ballet barre be for a studio?

Ballet barres for studios offer their own challenges and knowing the best height is essential if you wish to ensure most people can use the barres comfortably. It’s worth pointing out that a majority of studio owners choose to install a double row of barres which give their space greater flexibility.

Very specific measurements have been recommended by some well respected dance organisations, but once again these vary from one organisation to another. Most of the following advice state the height for both upper and lower barres and are true for both fixed and freestanding barres.

The national organisation representing dance in the United Kingdom, One Dance UK and CEDFA, who are a United States based educator in fine arts, both state that the height of the upper barre should be somewhere between 90cm. and 1.2m.

Falling within this range are the recommendations from Dance Studio Owner (1.07 – 1.17m). Sport Scotland (just over 1m) and Cecchetti’s Complete Manual of Classical Dance (93cm).

However the Centre national de la danse (CND) of France recommends an upper barre well above all of these, at 1.5m! Although they do specify that this is for wall mounted barres only.

Suggestions for the lower barre all fall within the range of 80 to 91.4 cm distance from the floor.

 

How high should a ballet barre be for a studio?

How high should a ballet barre be for a studio?

Remember that if you’re installing a row of double ballet barres, you want to give your space the capacity to deal with the widest range of users, so give a respectable distance between your upper and lower barres

Dinamica Ballet suggests:

 

The height of the lower barre should be between 77 – 83 cm and the upper barre between 101 – 106 cm

 

And we’d recommend the following ballet barres for a studio

International delivery available with all our barres

portable ballet barres Pina

Pina

Freestanding barre with two wooden beams

portable ballet barres Maurice

Maurice

Premium freestanding barre. Extra stability and two wooden beams

Fixed Ballet Barres

Arabesque Double

Fixed double row wall barres

Ultimately the choice really is yours. This guide has drawn on available information and has also been based on our own experience as a ballet barre designer and manufacturer. At whatever height barre you choose to purchase, or at whatever height you choose to install them, Dinamica Ballet can offer you barres to meet your needs.

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