Here are directions on how to make a ballet barre!
When I was preparing to shoot the videos for my online ballet dictionary I wanted a portable ballet barre that I could transport to the studio and then take home. I researched buying portable ballet barres and found that they were more expensive than what I wanted. For serious ballet dancers I feel that buying a portable ballet barre would be a good investment since it is a good idea to practice at home. I didn’t end up using the barre for my actual shoot however. Although it was a really fun project for me (and I think it was for the man that helped me at the hardware store. I’m sure they don’t get many requests for ballet barres). Now I have my own barre that I can use for practice in the basement.
I came across many websites talking about making your own barre for home use or for your studio. Some studio owners may want to save some money and make their own as well. Here is how I made my bar.
I used PVC pipe for my barre. I wanted something lightweight so it would be easy to transport. I went to the hardware store and bought some pipe, joints and caps. The hardware store was able to cut the pipe to the size that I wanted. I knew that I wanted the barre to be about 4′ long. The height, however I was not sure of. After doing some research I found out that the height of the barre can be pretty much as high as you would like it to be. I read that the standard height was 36”-38”. If your barre is for personal use it can be the height of your waist or the height of your hands when they are in first or second position. If your barre will be used by both adults and children it would be a good idea to have a second barre 8”-10” below the first one for shorter people.
I decided to go with a height of 38”. The hardware store cut one piece for me that was 4′ for the length and then 2 38” bars for the height. Finally I had them cut 2 pieces that were 1 ½ feet long for the supports on the floor (They are actually 1 1/2 cut in half to fit into the T joint). At home I attached the 4′ long piece to the 38” pieces with a curved joint. Then I attached the 1 ½’ pieces to the 38” pieces with a “T joint” so they were perpendicular to the 38” pieces. The ends can be capped when it is finished.
A barre made with PVC pipe is nice and light however it is not very sturdy. You will need some sand weights on the floor supports to keep the barre in place. It is a good idea to not get used to putting much of your weight on the barre. It is not there to keep you up. It is only there to give you some support. If you would like a sturdier barre some dancers have used metal pipe instead. This however will not be as lightweight.