How to Make a Ballet Barre Out of PVC

By James Rutter
Ballet dancers perform barre work throughout an entire career.

Ballet barre work constitutes an essential part of every ballet dancer's training. The barre enables a dancer to hold onto a support and maintain ideal posture while performing warm-up exercises, such as plies and ronde jambes. Barre exercises strengthen a dancer’s feet, ankles, hips, legs and torso and barre work lets a dancer focus on weak areas at varying speeds. Studios use portable and permanent ballet barres; dancers can take the former home for additional practice or build one out of PVC pipe for use anywhere.

Measure two 32-inch sections, one 36-inch section and four 12-inch sections of PVC pipe with the measuring tape. An average size ballet barre stands about 36 to 38 inches in height; the 32-inch sections will serve as the legs, the 36-inch section constitutes the crossbar and the 12-inch sections provide support. This amount of cross bar will enable two dancers to practice on the bar simultaneously.

Cut the 2-inch diameter PVC pipe with a saw at the points where you marked it in Step 1. Sand away any rough edges on both ends of the pipe sections with the sandpaper; an even surface enables the solvent to hold better.

Apply PVC pipe sealant to the inside of one of the PVC pipe caps. Attach the PVC pipe cap to only one end of the 12-inch section of PVC pipe and hold it in place for two to three minutes until the sealant takes hold. Repeat this step for the remaining three 12-inch sections.

Build the base of the barre by applying PVC pipe sealant to the non-capped end of one of the 12-inch sections and then inserting 2 inches of this section into one of the horizontal ends of the PVC T-joint. Hold it in place for two to three minutes and then repeat for another section of pipe to complete one of the bases for the barre. Construct the other base by repeating this step with the other T-joint and remaining two 12-inch sections.

Attach the legs of the ballet barre to the base by applying PVC pipe sealant to one of the ends of the 32-inch section and then inserting that end about 2 inches into the vertical opening of the PVC T-joint. Hold it in place until it dries. Attach the other 32-inch leg section to the remaining base by repeating this step.

Add PVC pipe sealant to other end of one of the 32-inch sections affixed to the base. Attach one of the 90-degree PVC joints to this end and hold it in place until it dries. Affix the other 90-degree joint to the remaining leg by repeating this step.

Apply sealant to one end of the 36-inch section and insert it into the remaining opening of one of the 90-degree joints now affixed to one of the legs. Hold it in place until it dries.

Apply sealant to the other end of the 36-inch section. Line up the remaining opening of the other 90-degree joint affixed to the remaining leg so that both legs are parallel to one another. Insert the end of the 36-inch section into the remaining 90-degree joint.

Tip

Cut the legs shorter or longer for younger, smaller or taller dancers, as needed.

Warning

Gluing the crossbar to the 90-degree joints will make it difficult to transport the barre. Don't glue this section if you want a portable barre.

About the Author

Since 2005, James Rutter has worked as a freelance journalist for print and Internet publications, including the “News of Delaware County,” “Main Line Times” and Broad Street Review. As a former chemist, college professor and competitive weightlifter, he writes about science, education and exercise. Rutter earned a B.A. in philosophy and biology from Albright College and studied philosophy and cognitive science at Temple University.