Surprisingly, we can do quite a lot to work on ballet technique at home. Use the following tips to make the most out of the space you have.
First of all, find a space where you have enough room to move both arms and legs in every direction.
Kitchens are often a great option if there is enough space since the floor is typically suitable for dancing, and kitchen counters make great barres.
The floor should be a smooth, flat surface, as opposed to carpeting or rugs if at all possible. Hardwood, linoleum, or tile is best. If you only have carpet, low pile like a rug works better than very plush, high pile carpet. If you are dancing on carpet, please take extra caution, especially with center work. If carpet is your only option, you may consider investing in a dance dot or getting creative.
Kitchen counters, railings, chairs, and even doorknobs can all be used as barres. Counters with an overhang are great (so you don’t bump your knee in grand plie or kick the wall using the inside leg). If you’re using a chair, make sure it is tall enough and relatively sturdy. Standard ballet barres range from 32″ – 42″. If using a doorknob, see if it’s one that can lock into place as opposed to constantly twisting around (or opening). Building your own ballet barre or investing in a portable barre is also a pretty inexpensive option to make any space better suited for ballet.
Setting up you camera
Connect to Zoom via desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone. Make sure your device is oriented horizontally for the best picture. Your whole body should be in view when you are standing at the barre (or chair, etc). Try putting your device on the floor or high up, along with places closer to eye level like a chair or counter. Choose which one shows the best view of your whole body. Keep in mind your arms and legs sometimes go up above your head. Aim for a clean background with minimal clutter. If possible, avoid backlit areas. A window in the background of your video can make it very difficult to see, which might mean you’re less likely to get valuable corrections and feedback!
Setting up your video
While it is important for the teacher to see you well, you also need to be able to see the video for demonstration. If the location is right, connecting to a tv or larger screen can be helpful. If you have issues connecting to Zoom, try restarting your device and closing any unneeded tabs or applications. Find the best place in your house for wifi. It may be worth investing in a wifi extender or increasing your internet speed.
Products to make your home studio even better
Most should be able to make due without needing to buy anything, however here are some great options if you would like to enhance your at-home experience:
- Make your own barre
There are many tutorials online showing you how to make your own barre. You may want to play around with height and length depending on your space.
Single Barre – clean and simple, perhaps slightly on the short side for taller dancers
Double – I like this version because there is a flanch under each foot, creating a more stable foundation. You can always use the single barre tutorial and add in the flanches.