I Tried a Barre Class- Here's How It Went

I spent most of 2016 volunteering at Amethyst Dance and Fitness. Usually when I say that, people ask what I taught, but the truth is I mainly worked in reception. I did clerical work, helped with renovations and moving furniture, did some customer service, and told people who were interested in trying classes what those classes were like. I became quite adept at delivering an elevator pitch on each class to anyone enquiring.

Towards the end of my time volunteering, a new instructor was joining the studio to teach a barre class. At the time I had no idea what that was, and since I was no longer going to be in reception I didn’t bother learning. I guessed that it had something to do with ballet, and knew it was a fitness class. It sounded intriguing to me, but I had other things I needed to focus on at the time, and so I resolved to come back to it another day.



One year later, I finally did.

In fact, it was my first time going back to the studio since working there. I’m in fairly good shape, generally speaking: I used to compete at cross country, I walk instead of bussing to a lot of places, and have several other active hobbies. But I was ready to try something new, and I was ready to actually take a class at the studio I had spent so much time in.

At first it was strange seeing what had changed at the studio. The barre studio had become what had formerly been the pole studio. I was put more at ease when the instructor, Katharine Hampson, arrived. While we had never met before, she had a friendly smile and a welcoming aura. I could see right away why she was teaching six classes a week.



Since we had a bit of time to kill as other students trickled in, I decided to ask her what exactly this class was. Essentially, barre is an isometric strength training class that incorporates elements of ballet, yoga, and pilates. It uses small, controlled and repetitive movements to improve core strength. Hampson says it has become extremely popular recently because people see such rapid results because “it focuses on your butt.”

And she is one hundred percent correct. When the whole class had arrived, Hampson told us to line up in front of the mirrors, turned the music on, and we got started. The whole class was an hour long, but it felt like half of that at most. There were very few moments that we were not in motion performing simple exercises that isolated different muscle groups. It was simultaneously totally manageable for me as a beginner and one of the most effective and intense workouts I have ever done. It was also extremely easy on my joints, which I was surprised about, given the amount of motion it required. Most importantly, it was fun.

So if you’re looking for a new workout leading up to summer, check to see if there are any barre classes in your area. It’s the workout you want for the summer in a fun and healthy package.


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