As you get stronger you can stand sideways to the barre and use only one hand to help you balance. Feel a straight line from the floor to the top of your head. Start from demi-plié in third position and spring onto demi-pointe with the raised leg in retiré devant as Beverley shows here. Take your hand off the barre and hold your balance.


This is practice for a pirouette (a spin on demi-pointe). When you have finished your barre exercises, it’s time to move into the middle of the room and try the positions and moves without the support of the barre. This is called center practice. You will start with slow steps and ports de bras (arm exercises) and then do little jumps, traveling steps, combined steps, and finally bigger jumps using all the space in the room.


Many dancers say that this is the part of the class that they like best. Ballet steps can be done facing different directions. Imagine that you are standing in a square and each direction points to a different part of the square. Face the corner of your square. Your audience will see your legs in a crossed position. Your shoulders and hips should also face toward the corner.