The Birth of Barre
Barre was first created by Lotte Berk, a German dancer in 1940. Lotte Berk sustained a back injury and was unable to continue her career as a dancer, during her rehabilitative therapy she began to modify her classical ballet training and warm-up to fit with her physical therapy and barre was born. Ms. Berk originally held classes in her London apartment before opening her first studio in 1959. From there news spread across the pond to the U.S. and it wasn’t long after that students of Lotte Berk decided to open studios of their own, some franchising the Lotte Berk Method and others creating their own version like Bar Method and The Dailey Method.
Today, thanks to the amazing results and fun atmosphere of barre classes they have become mainstream. You can find a few barre studios in most major cities today. Each studio offers their own flare and version of the original Lotte Berk barre method, some based more in ballet and others in cross training.
What to expect in class
Curious what to expect in your first class? Don’t be worried, starting a new workout and routine can always be a little intimidating. Just remember that everyone in there started and was a new client just like you. You will be met by lovely like minded women (the occasional man, most barre classes a filled with ladies due to the group structure led to music) who share similar interests as you. Majority of classes are built to be “mixed level” meaning beginners to advanced clients can participate in each class. Throughout class modifications and different levels to each exercise are given so you can challenge yourself no matter what your fitness level is. Once you have your first class under your belt you will feel right at home, each class usually has a similar flow to it so you will become familiar with the class structure.
As a studio owner of an independent studio, Barre Nor Cal. I always tell clients to try a ton of different classes and studios to find what works for them. From big gym group barre classes to boutique studios, they all have their own feel and unique workout. The most important thing is to find something you enjoy doing! Working out doesn’t have to be a chore, it can be something you enjoy doing. I have so many ladies tell me how happy they are that they have found barre in their lives and that they actually look forward to coming to class and working out!