“Dancing is about being exactly who you want to be in that moment.”
Dirty Dancing, Havana Nights
I started dancing when I was 3 years old. I quickly became a ballerina who strived to be perfect. At 4 years old my “perfectionist self” told my mother not to clean my room anymore because she was not putting things back where they “belong”. I was a perfectionist at 4, striving to be the “prima ballerina” I’d always wanted to be. I did ballet until I was 15. I made the decision my sophomore year in high school that with traveling to school daily (I was on a train every day to and from work adding about 1.5 hours a day to my travel) and homework load that I needed to take a break from ballet. I regret this decision every day. I am now almost 29 and wish so bad that I never quit. I quit right before I started pointe (my feet are thanking me for that decision). I did dance class in high school as my “elective” and participated in plays (from a dancing maid to a rockette) but it was never the same. In college I thought countless times about joining the dance team but thought since I was out of the game for so many years I would not be able to get right into it. After graduation and moving to Pennsylvania I had the itch. Instead of enrolling in an adult ballet class (which I feared would be to “entry level” – I wanted to pick up right where I left off) I decided to try out barre class. I absolutely love going to barre classes on Saturday mornings (I must admit I have not been there for a couple of weeks.. due to life!) but I cannot wait to get back in the game. For those of you wondering what barre is, I like to think of it as a happy medium. I LOVED ballet and I LOVED my body while in ballet so barre for me was some of the ballet moves while still getting the workout. Most barre-based classes use a combination of postures inspired by ballet and other disciplines like yoga and Pilates. The barre is used as a prop to balance while doing exercises that focus on isometric strength training (holding your body still while you contract a specific set of muscles) combined with high reps of small range-of-motion movements. Some major benefits of barre are improved posture, muscle definition, weight loss, increased flexibility and reduced stress. Classes typically consist of an invigorating workout, starting with a warm up and sequence of upper-body exercises, which include free weights, push-ups, planks and other moves to target the biceps, triceps, chest, and back muscles. Next, you’ll use the ballet barre and your own body weight for resistance to focus on the thigh and seat muscles. Your core will be engaged the entire class and then targeted at the end. For the cool down, you’ll go through a series of stretches to increase flexibility and allow your muscles to recover. If you haven’t already tried it, I recommend looking into a trial class at least. It is definitely a fun and different way to get your cardio in, check it out and let me know what you think after trying it out!