Beginner Ballet Barre (2015)


Work Your Supporting Side. Perfect Your Plié-Relevé.
Taught by Finis Jhung.
Demonstrated by Melissa Elstein.
99 minutes. 15 Exercises.

  • Available to Stream Instantly Online.
  • Stream in Workout Mode.


You will benefit most from this video if you have first studied and learned the fundamentals of ballet technique taught by Finis Jhung in Ballet Barre for the Adult Absolute Beginner. That video prepares you mentally and physically for this video, which is the second in Finis’s new ‘red’ series of barre videos for adult beginners. This class repeatedly reminds you to correctly align your supporting side from the shoulder to the toe so that you are always “on your leg” and ready to move. In addition, the exercises have been created with special emphasis on putting your brain into the free foot or position foot so that it works and moves with intelligence. In addition, you will be taught the correct way to plié-relevé so that you arrive on balance quickly with elegant ease. The difference in your dancing will be apparent to all, and then you will be ready to try the third level video in the “red” series, Ballet Barre Stretch & Strength.

  1. Stretch the body and legs – Music: New Ballet Music 13, Track 14, 3/4
  2. Almost-isometric demi-plié, bend the body – Music: New Ballet Music 13, Track 2, 3/4
  3. Battement tendu sideways, flex & pointe, rise, plié on half-toe, roll down, rest – Music: New Ballet Music 13, Track 3, 4/4
  4. Battement tendu forward & back, flex & pointe, lunge, bend the body & stretch – Music: New Ballet Music 13, Track 4, 3/4
  5. Arch & jump the foot, battement dégagé sideways – Music: New Ballet Music 13, Track 5, 2/4
  6. Preparatory demi-plié in fifth position, balance on one foot – Music: New Ballet Music 13, Track 11, 3/4
  7. Demi-plié, battement dégagé en croix, retiré balance, spot – Music: New Ballet Music 13, Track 7, 3/4
  8. Parallel lunge & stretch for the psoas muscle: hip, thigh, stomach – Music: New Ballet Music 13, NBM13, Track 8, 2/4
  9. Rond de jambe à terre, battement fondu sideways – Music: New Ballet Music 13, Track 10, 2/4
  10. Pirouette en dehors: Turn the plié with half-turns, full-turns – Music: New Ballet Music 13, Track 6, VERY SLOW 3/4
  11. Plié-dégagé sideways, plié-releve to balance, pirouette from fifth position – Music: New Ballet Music 13, Track 19, 3/4
  12. Grand battement forward – Music: New Ballet Music 13, Track 13, 2/4
  13. Place your arabesque, balance on half-toe, relax – Music: New Ballet Music 13, Track 16, 4/4
  14. Grand battement sideways, piqué la pointe – Music: New Ballet Music 13, NBM13, Track 18, 4/4 tango
  15. Developpé en croix, bend the body, pirouette en dehors from fourth position – Music: New Ballet Music 13, Track 9, 3/4

Additional information

Weight .125 lbs
Video Options

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Play the DVD in 3 modes: Full Class, Individual Exercises or Workout Mode where you can run the exercises without instruction. Once you’ve learned the exercise and heard the instructions, you may want to go straight to the demonstration with music so you can have a work-out without interruption.

You can find this feature on these videos.

The following DVDs don’t have the SPECIAL FEATURE but do allow you to skip the Instructions and go straight to the demonstration with music by using the SKIP FORWARD button:

  1. The Finis Jhung Ballet Technique: Stretch, Turn-out, & Extension
  2. The Finis Jhung Ballet Technique: The Power Barre
Streaming Playback

Streaming videos that offer the “Workout Mode / Nonstop Class” feature Streaming videos that offer the “Workout Mode / Nonstop Class” feature may be found here.

Most streaming videos do not offer multiple playback modes. Each DVD chapter/exercise is presented as an individual video. Once you complete an exercise, the next will play automatically. There is currently no “workout mode” available for most streaming videos.

Easy to follow.

— Stephie. July 26, 2018.

Very well put together.

— Cet. October 29, 2017.

I’ve been doing your DVDs with my mother in her 60s. It’s helping her out a lot with learning to keep her balance and have good posture. Even the slightest movements have helped strengthen her muscles. We love you.”

— Trula Hudelson

I love this DVD. I am an adult who wants to take ballet classes but I don’t have the time and there are no classes nearby. I bought a pair of videos but this one is my favorite. The instruction is wonderful. I love that you can choose to go through the whole class without the instructions. These DVDs are expensive yes, but worth it to me, less than one month’s worth of ballet class. I can’t wait to progress to the next one.

“Since I had a few months prior experience in ballet class when I was a younger adult, I began with this DVD and not the absolute beginner one.

“It helps to have your own barre. I made my own out of PVC in about half an hour for about $30. I found an easy pattern to follow on Pinterest and it really helps me during this video.”

— D.B. on Amazon

5 Stars!

“I am 40-year-old beginner, with no previous training in ballet. I discovered Finis’s work about a year ago, on Amazon, when I was searching for introductory level ballet DVDs for adults. My experience with his initial “Absolute Beginner” DVD in the red series left me deeply impressed—and hungering for more. To say that Finis has profound understanding of ballet as an art would be an understatement; but he also possesses keen pedagogical sensitivities that enable him to make this knowledge accessible for adults who never set a foot in the ballet studio before! This second DVD Beginner Ballet Barre is true sequel to the first: Finis intensifies the training in all the aspects that were introduced in the Absolute Beginner DVD: his signature almost-isometric plié, proper getting on your leg, balancing, strengthening of the feet, and spotting. New things—such as positioning in space, tombé lunge, preparation for pirouette, and arabesque—are also introduced. As before, Finis’s teaching attitude is very encouraging: the way he introduces new concepts and movements makes you believe that ballet is not only for the young and the flexible. His instruction is astonishingly clear and to the point. And, his snippets of wisdom—“you are only as good as your plié-relevé”; “keep your brain in your foot”; “arabesque is opening your heart”—stay with you long after the video is over. Admittedly, this is not an easy DVD: I find myself going back again and again, because it takes time to truly strengthen your feet and to make it a second nature to work from your supporting leg. But every effort brings forth real results. First, there are ballet-related results: I can also do things that I have not been able to do before (e.g., the beloved pirouettes – now, I have not become a perfect “turner” by any stretch of imagination, but there is a world of difference between toppling over at high speed and being able to actually get around all the way without the manic flailing of the arms. I also feel I am getting more out of my regular ballet classes, because I am beginning to recognize the underlying principles (isometric plié, work in opposition, stand in #1, expansion-contraction, lead from the foot, importance of the supporting leg, etc.). Secondly, there are life-related results: I observe improvements in my posture, core strength, and daily balance. Finally, the aesthetics: this DVD is high-quality film, set to a melodic musical score, and a beautiful demonstrator, Melissa Elstein, is a joy to watch (even if a challenge to imitate!). I strongly recommend this DVD to my fellow adult ballet students and to all who is interested in a fitness program that is both effective and safe.

— Natalia Shulgina

“Anyone familiar with Finis Jhung’s teaching would expect that his DVD, Beginner Ballet Barre, would have some special insights. And, you would be right! (Just as his Ballet Barre for the Absolute Beginner has for the student who just put on their first pair of tights!) As I watched I was reminded of something I once read. ‘The singer’s instrument cannot be bought. It is made by its training.’ The same can be said of  dancers. ‘It is not about the positions. It’s about muscles’, says Finis Jhung. ‘It’s not about the barre. It’s about being able to move and dance in the center.’ This barre is less about barre exercises than it is about engaging and strengthening the muscles needed to go beyond the barre. Among Finis Jhung’s memorable reminders are: ‘Don’t place the body for a position but for a preparation for the next movement.’ ‘The foot moves the leg.’ ‘The foot initiates the movement.’ Even though Finis Jhung’s DVD’s for beginners are for beginners it may be that the more advanced dancer will respond with the loudest, ‘Oh, right! I get it.’ When I think about past efforts of ‘not sitting on my leg’—a favorite teacher correction that had little or no awareness from where weight and balance came from—it is no surprise that I was ‘top-heavy’ and fell off balances. Check out these DVDs. (50% energy going up and 50% energy going down) Better late than-never!!”

— Marie Paquet-Nesson

“I want people to know how wonderfully you teach, and I think what you teach will be really helpful in learning and loving ballet. I’ve taken it for a long time as an adult, and I love taking class, how class proceeds, how the discipline manifests in class, the attention to the teacher, the student that demonstrates, working both sides, the beauty of the dance, the music, and so on. I do like how you have us start on the angles, because I have trouble with that, getting completely lost. I think this will help. Also, I never wanted to advance to the next level in class, because I felt something was missing, something in my fundamentals. I could do the pliés, tendus, dégagés, and the other movements, but I wasn’t sure if I was holding my body correctly, and after taking your classes I understand better what I need to work towards, and for that I really appreciate these DVDs. I feel like I’m there by how you conduct the class, and I really appreciate how you teach. It’s so welcoming and informative. You are truly a gifted teacher. Thank you!”

—Debbie, Anaheim, CA

Great, great video for adult beginners who want a challenging yet doable full barre. Level of clear, instructional detail is way more than what you’d get in some other offerings on Amazon, with their bargain basement prices and corny cover graphics. Head and shoulders above all that. It’s really convenient that there is also an exercise mode* where you can plow through the whole barre without the instructional parts. The exercises build on each other so logically so that by the time you’re about to do the half and full pirouettes, you’re totally prepared for them. Just like its subtitle, emphasis is on your standing leg, and working the plie-releve correctly; Finis also emphasizes how to work your feet at the barre. He gives you little demos of the wrong way to the exercises, which is really helpful because then you know what to avoid. Basically he lays out the process of each exercise and tells you which muscles should be engaged. Another thing that’s cool is that inside almost all the exercises he incorporates short little relaxation stretches. The demonstrator is a beautiful, gracious lady and a great sport! It’s nice that at the end of the video he sits down and talks with her so we see her as a person, not a mute ballet doll. This DVD looks and is high level production and instruction. It’s an investment, really, that you can refer back to over and over again, and believe me, you will need to because there are so many issues that he discusses. Oh, and if you don’t know who he is, just google him.”

— Cynthia Elmas, Astoria, NY

“Most ballet programs for adults just use the same old drills that are used to teach children. That approach can work for kids — their bodies are more resilient and absorb the information faster — but it’s pretty frustrating for adults.

“Finis re-invented the older methods of teaching ballet. He broke down the basic, foundational movements of dance and found simple ways to explain them to his adult students. I’m sure the method is helpful for kids, too, but for adults, it’s a game-changer. Finis’s method makes it possible for people to learn ballet later in life — something that wasn’t possible before with the older methods.

“I started Finis’s program in my late 40s (no prior dance background) and it has made remarkable changes in my body — more than yoga or Zumba® ever did. My posture has improved, my core muscles are stronger, my legs and back are more flexible and more whole body looks leaner. And dancing is a lot more fun than yoga!

There’s a reason people are willing to pay more for these DVDs — they’re worth it. You’ll keep them for years and go back to them again and again. Even if you stick with dancing and you move on to more advanced movement, you can still get a lot of mileage out of this basic barre routine.

“The format is clear and easy to use — you can choose to watch each of the 15 exercises individually, or watch them all continuously*, with no interruption. You get all the proper, precise ballet terminology along with the simple, clear instructions, and Melissa Elstein demonstrates with musicality and grace.”

—Donna Knipp, NY, NY

“5.0 out of 5 stars

“This DVD is a must-have for anyone interested in starting ballet, especially adults. I was/am a long-distance runner – for 20+ years – with a desire to try something new. That’s when I discovered Finis Jhung .Other DVD’s I had tried assume that you come to ballet with extraordinary flexibility. I don’t think I watched longer than 2 minutes before I turned them off, thinking, ‘This must not be for me.’ Finis’s DVDs are a little more expensive, but well worth it! (As anyone can see from his Facebook feed, Finis’s résumé is beyond compare. He danced with the Joffrey for many years, and has taught now for 40+ years. He also taught the Billy Elliott kids on Broadway.) So much of ballet instruction relies on rote, almost military-style repetition of movements — with little in the way of understanding what those drills are meant to accomplish. Finis Jhung is the opposite of that – his style of barre work is much more intuitive, much more ‘connected’ with actual dancing. He’s also refreshingly democratic. Rather than cultivating an air of exclusivity that sees people discouraged from ballet for not being a) super-flexible, or b) a teenager or younger, Finis’s technique throws opens the door for anyone interested in moving your body in a new way, and exploring ballet. Also – the beginner DVDs are for both women and men. (Guys – don’t let the female demonstrator put you off!) I can’t recommend them enough!

—M.P. Nunan, Astoria, NY

This DVD has turned out to be one of my favorites so far. The exercises are basic but challenging enough and the demonstrator Melissa is charming. I find I can hardly wait to share my new moves and ‘Finis wisdom’ with my fellow dancers and teacher at adult ballet class. Thank you so much for another valuable and timely product.”

—Sylvia Lausted, Spokane, Wa

“No matter where you are as a dancer, this video will reveal a hidden side of what makes ballet look so beautiful. While in many classes, especially for beginners, the focus is on positions and steps, people end up imitating everything, without any knowledge of the movement process and how to use their bodies. This DVD will teach you exactly what any good dancer needs to know and do: exercises to strengthen the feet by using the floor, insistence on doing any movement slowly so that you feel how you use your muscles, and what muscles you need to use. There is also an excellent explanation and exercises about how essential it is for a dancer to lengthen their Psoas muscle in order stand tall and dance well. If you are struggling with your pirouettes, you will learn how to do the right preparation so you can turn successfully. Finis’s natural demeanor, the clarity of his explanations and his sense of humor plus the demonstrator Melissa Elstein’s effortless execution make this video a truly enjoyable experience. This is the Finis Jhung Ballet Technique at its best!

—Ileana L. Ray, Brooklyn, NY, Adult student at Alvin Ailey Extension

“I want to thank you with all my heart for sharing your gift with all of us. I have loved ballet my whole life. Although my family did their best, they could not afford to send me to lessons for long. I was a cadet at West Point between 1999 and 2002. I used to run 2 miles each way to dance with six year-olds. I wish I would have known you were only a train ride away. I have a very fragmented dance education, and you have helped me put those pieces together. This renewed dancing life has also very unexpectedly allowed me to heal some emotional wounds I suffered during my military times. I am so grateful. I live in a rural area and have opened a small dance studio with the hopes of hiring a teacher for my kids and their friends. I decided I would refresh and start teaching until I could find one. I’m still teaching confidently and happily because of your clear direction. I hope to attend your workshop next year.”

—Josie Posir

* Workout Mode is available only in hard-copy DVDs.

About your purchasing choices…

FJ Streaming Singles We have released several brief videos (for example, our Foot Strength and Dance at Home series) which are only available to stream online. You will not receive a DVD, but may watch instantly upon completing your purchase.

DVD vs. Streaming

You’ll notice you have purchasing options on nearly all of the Finis Jhung Instructional Videos:

Streaming Playback

Streaming videos that offer the “Workout Mode / Nonstop Class” feature may be found here.

Most streaming videos do not offer multiple playback modes. Each DVD chapter/exercise is presented as an individual video. Once you complete an exercise, the next will play automatically. There is currently no “workout mode” available for most streaming videos.

Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

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