Raising the Barre (again)


After a pair of micro-barres, I was commissioned to make a real-life version ballet-barre. Ballerinas come in various sizes, so this one is height-adjustable with settings at 850 and 1100 mm (33 or 43″) tall, and a length of 2.1 m (7′). To change the height, simply release the two hand wheels a bit, rotate the barre down or up, and retighten for the next class.

7 thoughts on “Raising the Barre (again)

  1. This is very interesting. I always have trouble finding good barres that aren’t too expensive. How likely is this version to warp or bend over time? How stable is it? (ie, how much weight can it handle without losing its shape?

    • This barre is quite solid. It has a 1.5″ diameter, 7-foot long hemlock barre. The mechanism is of my own design, and it’s very simple and quick to make the height adjustment.
      Previous versions were fixed height, but longer, with a plastic-covered steel pipe barre, and they have been used daily for years at a pre-professional ballet school.
      I find it important that the barres have flowing lines in their design. Steel scaffolding pipes do not belong in a ballet studio, and these wooden ones have completely replaced the steel ones that the ballet school used in the past. There’s a picture of the fixed barres on the blog too, with all the other stage props.

  2. Wow, excellent work! I am in the process of replacing the pipe fitter barres in our studio with wooden ones. I am afraid the girls will damage the marley with the pipe barres. Not to mention the greater danger of straining their backs! Are plans available? Also, does it work the same with the steel pipe?

    • Hi,

      Thanks for the comments. The leg of the barres are two sheets of 3/4″ plywood glued together, with four non-slip feet mounted to each leg.
      The design is part of setting the right tone in the studio. Holding a piece of scaffolding pipe would not put me in the mood for gracious movement, but hopefully the wooden curves work.
      They have been used full time in a large school for three years now, the long barres are a 10′ steel pipe inside a PVC pipe, with knock-down fastening to the wooden legs. The adjustable one is all wood, as it is much shorter, for private lessons.

      Maarten

      • I’ve just received an e-mail from my daughter-in-law with a picture of your adjustable height bar saying, “please make me one of these.” … which I intend to do. Can you tell me how wide the base is in order to be stable enough.
        Thanks.

      • Hi John,
        I have made barres either 24″ or 30″ wide at the base. I have made several versions with a double barre. they are more stable, and easier to make too, look at the various pictures on the site.
        In this adjustable version I put most of the fasteners (e.g. cross dowels) in 3/4″ plywood, and then covered it with 1/4″ on both sides to hide them.
        The uprights are two layers of 3/4″ plywood. If you get S1S, then you can glue the unsanded sides together. Then I use a 3/4″diameter roundover bit to put a bullnose profile on the supports.
        Enjoy the project.

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