Barre Practice Week 3 – Basic Arms

Week 3! We’re moving right along now. You are probably starting to feel a bit more comfortable in your new ballet skin this week. If not, turn on some good music for a half an hour while your home alone and dance dance dance. Yup, it’ll feel really awkward at first, but it’ll get your dance bones woken up.

This week is all about arms. We are gong to be working on our foot position practice as well, but we are going to do them in conjunction with the arm movements. As usual try to practice these movements daily. Your goal is impeccable form and posture and the only way to achieve that is to practice practice practice.



A ballet term meaning “round” or “circular”.

Rond de Bras

Well, last week we learned that ‘bra’ meant arm so if we put it all together rond de bras means rounding of the arms. We practice this to warm up the shoulders and rotator cuff.


All the positions below for this weeks practice will be emphasizing the arm placement only. Practice moving through each of the positions in succession and combining them with the various foot positions. Repeat to yourself each position you are currently in.

Preparation Position

Preparation Position

Preparation Position is the basic relaxed dancer position. To practice preparation position begin in our soldier position. Your arms should be relaxed. Now imagine your holding a small beach ball. Your elbows are slightly bent, shoulders melting down your spine and relaxed deltoids.

Practice holding this position for 2 minutes and relax. The more you practice this stance the better your muscle memory will become.


1st Position Arms

1st Position

To practice 1st Position begin in Preparation Position. Your arms should be relaxed. Now imagine taking that beach ball and raising it up to just below your bust line. Your elbows are slightly bent, shoulders melting down your spine and relaxed deltoids.

Practice transitioning from Preparation Position to 1st Position. You should be focusing on lifting your arms without raising your shoulders. This will be difficult.


2nd Position

2nd Position

To practice 2nd Position begin in Preparation Position. Imagine you’re a bird. You’re going to start to spread your wings. Lift with the deltoid muscles but don’t raise the shoulders as you extend your arms out to your sides. Keep your arms soft and elbows slightly bent.  Try not to lift your shoulder blades as you raise your arms.

Think of a ball gently rolling down your arm starting at your shoulder and finishing at your wrist and rolling off your middle finger. Keep your elbows and back of the wrist pointing towards the ceiling.


3rd Position

3rd Position

To practice 3rd Position you can begin in 2nd Position. Slowly bring the right arm forward to where you would finish in 1st Position. Imagine that beach ball we talked about in 1st Position. Keep those arms soft and shoulders melting down your spine.

Remember, your left arm will be continually held out at your side.  You can practice 3rd Position on the opposite side, in which case you’d keep the opposite arm extended to your side. When practicing this position imagine the opening arm as a broom sweeping off the side brushing someone behind you out of the way and as you bring the arm back in you’re brining someone in for a hug.


4th Position

4th Position

To practice 4th Position you can begin in 1st Position. Slowly lift the right arm over head making a half circle around your head. To bring right arm overhead gracefully, imagine your shoulder doing all the work. Your arm and hand are along for the ride. Keep the elbow and wrist soft but don’t break at the joint.

Practice this position on the right and left side. Focus on the position of your spine and shoulder blades as you move the arm over head. Keep the arms strong but soft as you transition. Bring the arm overhead until the elbow is in line with your ear.


5th Position

5th Position

First, beginning in 4th Position, raise the arm that is extended out in front of you over head to meet the opposite arm. You will be holding your imaginary beach ball. Keep your arms soft and shoulders melting down your spine. Practice lifting and lowing opposite arms in a slow and graceful movement.

Feel free to practice the transition from one position to another, such as 5th to 3rd. Say each position out loud as you transition and remember to maintain correct spine positioning.

That is a lot of arms this week, but I know you can handle it. We’ll be practicing these movements over and over again with different foot combinations in the coming weeks don’t feel overwhelmed by all this information. Repetition is the key to remembering; keep practicing and keep dancing!



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