By Karen Kwan
Admit it: the ballet barre conjures up your childhood dreams of becoming a ballerina. Now you can get familiar with working with the barre in Toronto in one of the hottest new workouts: Barreworks. Dreaming of tutus and pretty pink ballet slippers? Well, you may be disappointed in that respect (none of those here)—but what you will get?
What you’ll get from a Barreworks signature class is a total conditioning workout. And like us, you’ll likely quickly forgo the pretty outfit when your hard work in a class will reward you with “a dancer’s lean body minus the tutus and wrecked feet,” says Andrea Mills, the communications director at Barreworks.
The concept is inspired by the barre-based fitness trends (such as Physique 57 and the Bar Method) that are a favourite of celebs in the U.S. right now, says Mills, a former magazine editor with 13 years of ballet training. Created by a team of fitness professionals, certified yoga teachers and professional dancers, Barreworks incorporates the ballet barre for stability and balance, and to train muscle development for proper posture, says Mills. “It flows like a dance class, however no dance experience is required.” (Indeed, even not so coordinated ladies will be able to follow a class). Also, you’ll complete more reps and complete cardio and resistance-band work, unlike learning choreography as you would in a dance class.
And we quickly learned this in our first class: any visions we had of it being a dance class were quickly forgotten as we sweated our way through the vigorous workout. To the tune of mostly high-energy pop remixes (nope, no classical music!), during the one-hour class we moved from a warm up, through some barre work, cardio, mat work, core work (hello, abdominals!), resistance bands for arm work, and finally, some stretching. Think of the fitness moves you may be familiar with, but with a slightly more fluid approach (which makes them way more palatable to us than working out on a machine in a gym). While we were envisioning a class where we’d be doing plié after plié and the occasional rond de jambe, instead we got our entire body in on the action. “The workout doesn’t focus on any specific body part—it is intended to be a full body workout that strengthens, lengthens, tones and leaves you feeling worked out but energized,” says Mills.
Sixty minutes later, we were relieved to put away the weighted balls (and thankful we grabbed the lightest ones for our first try, there were plenty for us lacking in upper-body strength!), but eager to try the signature workout again (along with their YogaBarre and SpinBarre classes). Our motivation? The killer bod on our instructor. Her strong, lean physique? Yeah, we want that.
Photo credit: Barreworks