Ballet Barre Steps

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The next Ballet barre steps in your beginner's class are the Assemble Soutenus and the Rond de Jambe á Terre.

Don't worry - they are much easier to do than to say.

They build on the barre exercises you've already done in your first Ballet steps, the Plié and the Tendu.

Those were both fairly static movements, primarily designed to get you warmed up and standing with great posture.

But these next steps have more movement in them.  This is where the dancing starts.

Assemble Soutenus

This step 'assembles' a position of the feet - in most cases it's fifth position.  You can check the position of the feet with our guide.

Done on its own, it's pretty simple.  But since you're progressing well, we thought we'd combine it with another of the class Ballet barre steps, a Rond de Jambe.

Rond de Jambe á Terre

This roughly translates as a circular movement of the leg on the floor.  Sounds weird. Really isn't.

It's just a way of getting you to practice moving the foot and toe smoothly around the floor.  It encourages you to make the most of your point - to really stretch it.  It's when you've got your toe pointed to its very limit that it looks the best and this is the exercise that helps you achieve that.

As Deborah said, this Ballet step is where the work starts on your flexibility.

If it's one thing that Ballet dancers are famous for and which non-dancers envy the most, it's fantastic flexibility.  The suppleness that enables dancers to glide, to move smoothly and to twist, turn, leap and pose in exquisite shapes is one of the most extraordinary things to watch and to achieve.

And of course you can't have that level of flexibility without great fitness; toned, strong muscles are the key to achieving suppleness.

Dance for fitness

You might not hear us talk very often about the amount of calories a certain movement will burn or say anything like "These are the Ballet barre steps to do if you want to lose weight from your thighs". 

We just don't think like that.

Fitness, weight loss and fat burning are all by-products of dancing.  Although there is no doubt that dance is one of the best exercises you can do, the workout element of it is usually comes second. 

First and foremost is the ability; can you dance well?  Does the dance look good?  Does the dancer move beautifully?

If you are executing these Ballet barre steps accurately, you'll be doing all those exercise things (burning fat, using calories etc).  But hopefully, what's uppermost in your mind is just doing the step well.

So when we talk about an exercise like the one above being vital for flexibility, it's like an aerobics instructor saying "this exercise is good for fat burning".  It's one of the key things that you want from your class.

Next, you get to try a pirouette and a jump...

› Ballet barre steps