When ballet meets yoga and pilates
Mash-ups aren’t always a good thing, but this is one that really took off. Conceptualised in the late 1950s, Barre has grown from a London based, one-studio exercise, to something that’s known worldwide. It even counts celebrities like Barbara Streisand and Audrey Hepburn amongst its practitioners.
Birth of Something New
Barre started as a result of ballet dancer Lotte Berk injuring her back. Her intention was to use rehabilitative practices, coupled with her expertise in using the ballet barre, to improve her condition.
Starting in a basement in London’s West End, Berk opened her studio, Lotte Berk Method, in 1971. One of her students, Lydia Bach, eventually brought this over to New York.
A Swan Takes Flight
Despite its early inception, there would be struggles before Barre really took off. Despite being notable as a well-rounded exercise that potentially delivers results in a short space of time, popularity rose more so only in 2010. The American Council of Exercise attributed this to Barre’s popularisation due to the movie, Black Swan.
Since then, it’s appeal has garnered more and more followers, and has evolved in ways beyond what it’s founder has conceived. Whilst the main attraction is on developing the physique of ballet dancers, it is also known to improve posture and reduce stress.
Spreading Graceful Wings
These days, Barre is known to use practices drawn from both Pilates and Yoga in it’s routine. Just as in these two practices, Barre’s exercises target the core muscles that provide support and stability to the body. In using classic ballet forms like the plié, it also teaches the practitioner control over the muscles in the body.
More than just a dance workout, Barre allows you to really focus on specific muscles, strengthening and toning them. You also learn how to control your breathing, focus on your posture and thus, helps you to turn inward, helping you reduce the daily stresses you may face.
It is overall an exercise that helps improve one’s fitness, but more importantly, one’s well-being.
And if you’re already a regular practitioner in Barre, maybe you would like to deepen your practice or gain more knowledge on how you can potentially lead a class in this workout type.