About 10 years ago on a trip to Los Angeles I was walking past the mirrored window of the studio in a gym I was training in and I saw lots of slender poised woman going through a series of plies and moves that looked pretty easy but their legs were shaking and you could see the effort they were putting in. As someone who danced from the age of 3 and went to stage school where I danced every day from the age of 12-18 I was intrigued. I had taken a couple of dance classes as working as an actor I always want to keep great movement in my body and I have also been a trained Pilates instructor for 10 years but I missed that element of dance class that I was now witnessing. I had to give it a try. So I took my first Barre class and I was hooked. During Barre class you go through a series of ballet conditioning exercises, which are aimed at toning your whole body. We started with arm work moved onto our legs and butt and finished with ab work, we stretched as we went and had a last longer stretch at the end. Although it was hard I loved every minute of it and for days afterwards I was sore in muscles I’m pretty sure I hadn’t used in years! So I decided to train to teach Barre as I felt it would be a nice complement to Pilates. There are loads of different Barre classes available in the states, Bar Method, Barre Concept to name a few, they are all pretty much the same type of ballet conditioning class mixed with callanetics moves from the 70’s!
One of my main reasons for loving Barre is the change I began to see in my own body. As someone in my 40’s with a child and the type of pear body shape that means if I so much as look at a piece of cake my thighs end up an inch bigger I felt like a few improvements here and there wouldn’t go a miss. I walk a lot and work out regularly and Pilates has kept me in great shape for years but barre has managed to make changes that probably only I can see but make getting into my favourite going out dress a little easier! My legs are much more toned, I’m never going to have a thigh gap but they definitely look better in a pair of shorts than before, my butt is a little more lifted and my arms are much more toned than when I used to lift heavy weights 3 times a week!
I came back to Dublin and realized that no one was teaching this type of class. I ran a couple of weekend workshops in Rathmines to see if anyone else would be interested and they both sold out. So I started teaching a couple of classes a week and that has now grown to teaching 8 barre classes a week in Platinum Pilates studio in Rathmines in Dublin and I've recently launched Rebel Barre with another great barre teacher, Jade. There are now barre classes springing up all over Dublin but its great to know that I was one of the first to find out how great it is for your body. I have ladies coming to my class that have been coming ever since I started and they come back week after week, some of them 2 or 3 times a week and I can see the changes, one client remarked to me that her husband now calls her iron bum because of how toned her butt has become!!
I love to play a mix of great music (in my humble opinion) during class and I change the exercises around so that no one gets bored. The key to exercise for me is fun and making it not feel like a chore and Barre along with Pilates is something that I know I will do for life, it just works for me! So hopefully I will see some of you at the Barre!!