no shortage of ballet, yoga and Pilates studios offering
classes in most metropolitan regions. But now, barre studios
are appearing, advertising a trendy new type of workout that
combines the grace of ballet, the core strength of Pilates and
the mental fulfillment of yoga.
many, this is the best of three worlds.
the full barre experience, we attended a class at the new
Barre3 studio in Raleigh, N.C., which opened in May and is run
by owner Tori Fox. Clients of all ages flock to the studio for
high-energy, fast-paced workouts.
on your toes, ladies!" Fox shouted, as women around the
room straightened their backs and stretched out their arms,
trying not to wobble too much on their toes. "Letís
work on that core!"
the room, faces were shiny with sweat and muscles quivered
with intensity, but the positive energy in the sunny studio
kept everyone focused and motivated. The endorphins and peppy
dance music helped, too.
studio is divided between yoga mats on the floor and the
ballet barre wrapped around the room. A typical 1-hour class
begins with stretches to increase heart rates and flex muscles
that will be used later in the workout.
techniques are used at and away from the barre, and there are
bursts of cardio throughout the class. As women spread out
across the room, stretching their backs and pressing forward
on their toes, Fox ensures everyone is doing the exercises
want to see those shakes!" she said, adjusting a foot
here and a shoulder there. "Feel that burn!"
"shakes" are the result of the tiny isometric
movements that exhaust the muscles they are sculpting and
shaping. Barre lends visible definition to those muscles
through such movements. Thatís why this type of exercise has
grown in popularity.
originated 50 years ago in London with German dancer Lotte
Berk, who developed a series of exercises that combined her
dance experience for strength and flexibility training.
Studios today still base their workouts around the same
exercises, though they may add more dance touches or more
cardio to make them their own. Over the last few decades,
barre has caught on in the United States.
Smith, the owner of Barre Up in Raleigh, said she enjoys barre
because the workouts incorporate "combined
strengthening," allowing her to work out both her
abdominal and leg muscles.
workouts combine the integrity of Pilates and the intensity of
barre," she said. "Barre works areas that women want
to target in one class and gives them that mind-body
stressed that barre gives clients a complete workout.
workout appeals to people because it works out all the
muscles," she said. "Itís a very balanced and
efficient kind of exercise."
of the fun atmosphere and effectiveness of the workouts, barre
studios in the area have been receiving lots of positive
feedback. Smith notes that Barre Up strives to keep classes
small. "People really love the individual attention they
get from that," she said.
Barre3, there is an emphasis on personal modification. "I
always ask for injuries at the beginning of the class,"
Fox said. "And during the class, if someone is tired, I
want them to take a break. I donít want there to be any
pressure to keep up."
end of the Barre3 class, everyone cooled down with lots of
stretching while Coldplay played softly in the background.
asked what she would say to people who feel like they might
not belong in a barre studio because they do not have a
background in dance, Fox said she would encourage them to give
it a try.
donít have a dance background either," she said with a
laugh. "But itís OK. We cater to all ages and all
fitness levels. Itís hard, yes, but itís fun, too."