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.

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