Barre Exercise vs. Ballet: What's the Difference? - Sweatbox

Many people have heard of barre exercise and believe it is similar to ballet. The truth is barre exercise took some influence from ballet. The difference between a ballet barre and a barre fitness is not really about how it’s built or used but the intensity with which it is put to work.

During stretching and warm-up exercises, ballet offers stability and balance. In barre exercise, the ballet barres are frequently subjected to higher body weight, which calls for more support. 

If you have been avoiding barre classes because you think they could be intimidating, we’ll look at the differences between barre fitness classes Singapore and ballet classes so you will know what to expect.

4 Key Differences

1) Ballet is dance, barre is exercise

Ballet is a graceful yet physically demanding form of dance derived from the Italian verb “ballare,” which means “to dance.” It is theatrical, with well-organized steps and movements. It expresses emotions, a story, a mood, or a topic through stage scenery, music, and body gestures.

Barre fitness is based on ballet exercises incorporating pilates, yoga, and strength training. It involves low-impact, high-intensity movements and weight training, and many classes use light hand weights or resistance bands that can sometimes be used to supplement the workout. It strengthens your entire body and overall strength in ways few other workouts can.

Dance as a workout is not new; it has been around for quite some time. But barre exercises are a relatively recent way to get those muscles working. The barre fitness method uses a dancer’s bar and a yoga mat. While this is an intense and effective workout method, no prior dance experience is required. 

2) Ballet requires coordination and rhythm; barre is a workout

Ballet demands muscle strength, coordination, and rhythm. During classes, students frequently practice basic moves and combinations such as bends, turns, and stretches. Ballet barres must be durable and stable to provide a safe place for ballet dancers to stretch their legs, but they may not need to withstand the constant, rigorous use that fitness barres are regularly subjected to.

Barre fitness classes provide a full-body workout focusing on simple, isolated movements. It concentrates more on toning specific muscle groups such as your arms, abs, legs, and seat. Because barre fitness attracts people from all walks of life, beginners can begin slowly or modify movements to meet their strength and increased flexibility needs. 

3) Ballet combines with music; barre is not and just mostly for exercise

The ultimate goal of ballet is to learn movements that can be combined with music to create dance routines. In barre classes, it provides a full body workout, but it is not just mostly used for exercise. 

One of the best benefits of barre is that it incorporates the use of upbeat music and engaging choreography, unlike Pilates, where you will be mostly relying on breath cues. When working out is enjoyable and fun, your chances of sticking with the program improve dramatically.

Barre is ideal for people recovering from injuries because it is low impact. Especially for older people at risk for falls, barre may be a good way to improve stability and avoid injury. Many barre classes can also be modified to make them suitable for pregnant and postpartum women. 

Barre workouts are also a good cross-training option to combine with other workouts such as running, weight lifting, or cycling because they strengthen the muscles required for these exercises without being too stressful on the body. 

Exercise can help you reduce stress. While yoga calms the mind and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) gets it all out, barre is likely somewhere in the middle. Barre is a mental challenge because each movement necessitates a certain level of mindfulness to keep you engaged. As your brain remains intensely focused on each small movement, it’s almost like a form of meditation. Each class may leave you feeling lifted and calm.

4) Ballet has classes for slow and fast rhythms; barre focuses on reps and muscle groups 

Ballet barre includes both slow and fast exercises that strengthen muscles. Slow exercises are usually done first to stretch and warm up the muscles and focus on proper body form. In contrast, fast exercises condition dancers to maintain precise ballet technique while moving. Each exercise serves a specific purpose: strengthening the feet and legs, increasing extension, increasing flexibility, or developing ballon. All exercises strive for proper form (posture, foot, and arm positions).

Ballet movements that require balance and stimulate the core can be incorporated into barre exercises to increase stamina, flexibility, and strength.

Barre classes have grown in popularity as a form of exercise. Since a barre class Singapore includes the use of the barre as a tool for repetitions of small, pulsing movements with emphasis on form, alignment, and core engagement, barre has become the newer fitness routine that is gaining traction in Singapore. 

Do you want to get some exercise while maintaining the poise and elegance of a ballerina? Sweatbox yoga’s barre intensity classes provide exactly that. This is perfect for beginners who want to taste barre and learn the signature moves at a slower pace.


The differences between ballet barre and barre fitness are minimal, but they are significant, and in the case of barre fitness, require a little more stability. After all, the barre fitness regime is heavily based on ballet exercises. The difference is primarily determined by who uses the barres and how they are used, rather than by the barre itself.

Prepare to sweat and move while listening to our fun and exciting music selection. Sweatbox yoga is here to support you throughout your fitness journey and help you reach your fitness goals. If you’d like to take one of our barre classes, come and sign up with us today, and stay fit while having fun in our barre studios!

Final Words

Committing to start an exercise program is an exciting first step in improving your life through increased physical fitness and improved mental clarity. After all, what better investment than yourself? If you’ve struggled with not having enough time, money, or motivation to work out, push them aside and remember that you’re worth it. 

About the Author​

Lynette is fully dedicated to the support and empowerment of the growing community of committed yoga students and teachers. As one of the Lead Instructors for Yoga Teacher Training, she is here to share tips on how to grow your profile as a yoga teacher or build a yoga business either physically or digitally.