After graduating from the Mary Wigman School of Dance, Mettler moved to New York City to take classes with modern dancers Martha Graham and Doris Humphrey. Frustrated by the rigidity of her teachers, Mettler decided to open a studio of her own. The Barbara Mettler School of Dance opened in the fall of 1934 out of a single floor in a building owned by Carnegie Hall on West 56th Street. Mettler’s theory of dance began to evolve into an all inclusive method that viewed dance as a form of creative movement that could benefit the masses rather than the select few. Although she still practiced many of the conventional principles that she had learned while in Germany, Mettler’s instructional aesthetic emphasized the joy in creative activity rather than rigorous exercise and preparation for performance.