I’d rather go to the Barre than be a ballerina

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I heard Barre was one of those fitness classes that could help sculpt a beautiful and lean ballerina body. My friend had been an avid barre user and she looked fantastic. Like a goddess. Also, I’ve always been interested in dancing… or at least looking like a dancer. I’m thinking Natalie Portman in Black Swan (I even was her for Halloween- see below). I’d researched and found that barre was beneficial in targeting muscles, making them stronger and more defined, increasing flexibility and endurance and even strengthening the mind-body connection. I was about to find out all of these were true.

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As a result of a mixture of traffic, getting lost and a front desk mix-up, my friend and I arrived at Barre ten minutes late. Ladies were already on their mats, moving their arms with two and three pound weights. Upbeat Maroon 5 music, just a touch too loud, played in the background. The instructor, a tall thin woman in her early fifties, peered down at us from the front of the room and made a comment that showed just what she felt about our lateness. I felt my face burn red, as it often does when I am the center of attention. “Have you at least tried barre before?” the instructor asked.

I hadn’t but my friend murmured a quick yes as I awkwardly kicked off my sneakers and headed towards the pile of weights. I picked up a two pounder and joined in with the weight movements they were doing. Then we were told to go to the barre.

The barre. The long wooden bar attached to the wall. I was instantly intimidated. The woman next to me had special toeless socks that said ‘barre’ on them. We began a series of lower body and glute movements. They were tiny movements that probably looked easy but oh goodness did they burn, my thighs even started shaking like they were made of jello. Why did I have to stand next to the most flexible woman in the whole world?

The instructor would periodically come over to adjust my posture and reminded the class how our movements were isolating specific muscles and muscle groups. I had no idea my butt had so many muscles but I’m sure I’ll feel each and every one tomorrow. (update: yup felt every muscle).

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Finally, after I thought my thighs might collapse, we took yoga mats and began doing core exercises on the floor. I have no core. My core is gone. I just had a baby four months ago. I probably looked like an upside down turtle but I still tried! I must’ve looked a sight. I wouldn’t meet my own eyes in that mirror.

My friend told me that your body begins to see changes pretty quickly after you begin barre and that wouldn’t surprise me. She said she saw results in four weeks! Day one and I am already exhausted! But I’m ready to go back to the barre again next week! I think I’ll keep this one in my weekly rotation.

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