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The Structure of a Typical Ballet Class

Updated: Jan 6, 2023

A typical ballet class has 3 sections: Barre, Centre, and Across the Floor. At Ballet Theatre San Luis Obispo, we aim to provide dynamic and artistic combinations at each stage of class!


Every class will start with barre exercises, which constitute 1/2 to 1/3 of the class. You will use the barre to support your body through exercises focused on specific movements. This will allow you to focus on your body's placement.

The work you do at the barre is the foundation for steps and movements at the centre and across the floor. Exercises at the barre are often precursors to more complicated movements later in class.

Beginners and children may start with two hands and face the barre. Typically, barre exercises are given facing sideways with one hand on the barre; doing an exercise on one side (starting with the left hand on the barre) and then repeating on the "second side."


After the barres are put away, dancers move to the open floor. Each student finds a spot where they can see themselves in the mirror and spaced out from other dancers to avoid collisions.

Combinations at the centre incorporate larger full-body movements as well as techniques practiced at the barre.

Across the Floor:

The final exercises of the class are the biggest, consisting of moving combinations and Grand Allegro. “Allegro” refers to the steps of elevation. Grand Allegro are large expansive jumps that reach high elevations.


This tradition is the final element of each class. It is the "final bow" that signifies gratitude to your teacher and other dancers. A small celebration for the time, work, and passion the class put towards dance.

Whether you are an adult interested in taking your first class ever or your child is excited about beginning their ballet journey, we welcome all dancers to our studio!

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