Visit any barre studio’s website and you’ll find plenty of appealing promises:

“Develop long, lean muscles without bulk.”

“Sculpt a ballerina’s body.”

“Enhance flexibility and improve balance.”

Many say that after only five classes, you’ll see changes in your body, gain strength, and tone those hard-to-target muscles in your core, arms, and legs. And the best part: Anyone—no matter their age, weight, or fitness level—can hit the bar and get results.

The History of Barre

Considering that the basic equipment (ahem, a ballet barre) and many of the moves are based on classic ballet positions, it’s no surprise barre was developed by a ballerina. After injuring her back, Lotte Berk, a German dancer living in London, came up with the idea to combine her dance conditioning routine with her rehabilitative therapy. She opened her first studio in 1959 in her London basement, where famous faces such as Joan Collins and Barbara Streisand regularly came to lift, tuck, and curl.

Lydia Bach, an American student of Berk’s, brought the workout back to the states in 1971, when she opened the first Lotte Berk studio in New York City. Over time instructors began branching off to create their own variations of the workout, such as Physique 57, The Bar Method and Core Fusion, and others. In fact, so many teachers eventually left the original Lotte Berk Method studio that it ended up closing its doors in 2005.

In the last 10 years, Barre has morphed from a class for nimble dancer-types to become the workout of choice for fitness fiends everywhere—and studios are springing up in droves across the U.S. Basically if your neighborhood doesn’t have a barre studio; it’s safe to assume it will soon!

 Source: Well and Good



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