Thursday 26 September 2013

Dance Barre Classes: Guys Do Them, Too

Dance barres are often used in ballet classes, and rightly or wrongly, that creates in some people the perception that barre fitness classes are intended for or only benefit women.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, a great many magazines, websites and fitness programs for men have recently discovered and written or spoken about the benefits of dance barre classes for men.

For example, Details magazine praised dance barre classes as a route for achieving the sort of body male models have -- a "rangy" and "athletic" physique that's quite popular right now, as opposed to a bulkier and more muscle-bound look that was in fashion a few years ago. The magazine quoted one barre class devotee, a male model himself, for working smaller muscle groups that he does not normally have the opportunity to focus on.

Dance barre routines can work the gluteals, hamstrings, back and obliques (the "Michelangelo muscles" that help make a desirable abdominal section). These are muscle groups that many men want to emphasize. That's in addition to other fitness benefits that dance barre classes can bestow, like flexibility and muscle responsiveness.

Given the popularity of other fitness regimes, like CrossFit and Insanity, it is fair to assume that dance barre classes are only on their way up and will become a staple of the fitness-conscious for years to come.

At Boss Ballet Barres, we sell the dance barres that many gyms and fitness studios use in their classes. Contact us today for more information. We can help you find the right product for your needs.

Thursday 12 September 2013

The Lotte Berk Method: How the Ballet Barre Became Fitness Studio Equipment

Many have reaped the benefits since the introduction of the ballet barre into fitness studio equipment fixtures. Fitness regimens that include work at the barre traditionally combine yoga and pilates along with traditional ballet exercises that shape and sculpt the body; and such studios have popped up all over the country. But where did the trend start? Answer: Lotte Berk.

Lotte Berk was a German dancer who fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s. She and her husband, who were Jewish, settled in London where she continued to dance. Soon after, Berk suffered a severe spinal injury in a car accident. Determined to recover, she incorporated her dance training with her rehabilitation therapy. Berk developed a series of moves designed to strengthen muscles that had weakened without activity and to regain suppleness. Her dramatic improvement inspired her to teach the methods to others in recovery--first out of the basement of her home and later from her own studio in London.

An American named Lydia Bach fell in love with Berk's system. After training with Berk for a year, Bach bought the rights to Lotte Berk's name and technique and then opened a Lotte Berk Method studio in New York City in 1971. 

In the years since Lydia Bach brought the techniques to NYC, the original Lotte Berk Method has seen changes at the barre--most notably, incorporating yoga, sports science, and even other genres of dance (for example, Latin dance and belly dancing). In the 90s, Burr Leonard, and her husband, Carl Diehl, transformed Bach's version of the Lotte Berk Method again and franchised several Bar Method studios around the country. 

What started as one dancer's love of her craft and her desire to heal herself from injury developed into a widely lauded fitness regimen. The results are praised and flaunted by athletes, celebrities, and health enthusiasts. The ballet barre--particularly one that is portable and sturdy--provides versatility in an exercise program--easily and safely adapted into multiple genres of fitness and fun.

We know you'll enjoy your ballet barre, and so will your health and physique. It's important to choose the correct barre for your purposes. We can help. Contact us for more information.