Barre Fitness: From A Dancer’s Perspective

Welcome back to From The Top, everyone! Today we are getting up and moving our bodies with barre fitness! A practice taking the world by storm, barre fitness is one of the most popular fitness classes in today’s day in time. Ballet inspired, barre fitness rose to fame at an incredibly fast rate and has quickly become peoples exercise go-to. However, just like pilates or yoga, does barre fitness have any benefit to the actual demographic that it was inspired by, ballet dancers? Most importantly, is it so dance oriented that it could be used to further strengthen our training, technique and overall bodily health? Well strap in FTT Family, because today we are going to answer as many of those questions as we possibly can! We went ahead and took a barre fitness class to get a hands-on experience and truly see if and how a dancer can integrate this into our health routine or if it’s just a fitness fad with ballet at the center. Let’s go!

  1. What is Barre Fitness?

As we previously stated above, Barre fitness is an exercise program founded in 1959 by German ballet dancer Lotte Berk who was looking for a rehabilitating fitness routine to help recover her injured back. The result was an exercise method that uses ballet barre moves, along with elements of yoga and pilates, to help strengthen the body. Along with the previous elements stated, it is also said to improve flexibility and stamina. Over the last decade or so, it has been made well aware to the general public just how strong dancers really are not only as artists, but as athletes. To do just a portion of the things that we do requires a large amount of strength, muscle control and discipline. Barre fitness is meant to explore the training of ballet barre in a way that is accessible and open to everyone!

  1. The Ballet Fitness Experience and What To Expect

Though barre fitness classes are offered in fitness studios all around the world, I managed to find a fantastic barre fitness class online and I must say, it both met my expectations of what to expect and in some ways exceeded them. Barre fitness is most commonly referred to as being a low impact, but high intensity workout and that it truly is. In the beginning of the class, there is no time wasted. Right away, you’re thrusted into tendus and releves in first position, coupe releves with many glissades to grow on. With its creator being a ballet dancer, I did expect for there to be ballet terminology, but I was very impressed with just how much terminology was included! I saw it as a beautiful way to provide absolute ballet beginners and ballet lovers a tiny glimpse of the world of ballet. 

The pace of class is steady and solid. I’m not sure if me being a ballet dancer had anything to do with it, but you really accomplish a lot in a small period of time without feeling like you’re going to pass out, which is something I LOVE in a good workout. The pilates and yoga elements are beautifully intertwined with the ballet training. Along with your coupe releves, there is a low lunge thereafter, some plies combined with a front battement and other pilates-yoga-hybrid ballet moves that come together for a workout that will make you feel the burn in the best way!

  1. Can dancers benefit from Barre Fitness, and if so, why?

Honestly speaking, barre fitness is a practice that can be of benefit to professional dancers just as it is beneficial to those who aren’t dancers at all. It has many elements that dancers look for to strengthen our bodies for our profession. This routine is  strength training, flexibility training and stamina building all wrapped into one package. To my surprise as well, I found that if you are a trained ballet dancer, this fitness class is actually an excellent outside dance training ground to continue to hone technique. The one small difference that makes quite the impact is the fact that as dancers, we really know how to dig into these moves. I mean, really know..We know how to turn out from our hips and not our feet. We know to bring our foot back from a front tendu by leading with our pinky toe. We know to releve coupe using the momentum of our lower body instead of solely depending on the barre. And since we know how to execute these moves from a trained dancer standpoint, Barre fitness allows us to do two things at once: take up an out of studio fitness regiment, while helping us keep up to par with in-studio necessities. For the ballet dancer, barre fitness can truly be seen as working smarter with your outside training. Simply enroll in your nearest barre class, and you just might have a cross training match made in heaven!

Thank you all so much for stopping by today! As always, we hope you enjoyed this post and we hope it inspired you to add a new fitness regimen to your roster! We wish you a weekend filled with love and light, and remember…

Keep dancing!


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