In Balanchine's classrooms, the barres were at the standard height, developed over the years by dancers everywhere. The barre should be at the level of the lower part of the rib cage so that the arm which is supported by the barre is at the same height as the extended arm. Place the hand on the barre a little forward of the body, while standing at a distance that allows a little play in the arm without causing the arm to bend too much at the elbow. Aside from pliés, all exercises at the barre are performed on one leg to strengthen and prepare the body for center work. This chapter discusses the purpose and use of the barre, construction of exercises, demi-plié, grand plié, coordination of the arm with grand plié, and coordination of the arm with bending down and back.
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