I started taking ballet lessons at two and a half years old, and I continued until I was seventeen. Out of all of the classes that I was able to take, ballet continued to be my favorite. I loved the fluidity of movement, and the discipline and poise that it taught me.
When I started hearing about the “barre class” trend, I was psyched. It took awhile for a barre class to come to my area, and I almost joined the most expensive gym in town just for access to the weekly barre class. After a rough day at work, I went to yoga for the first time in months and found out that my class pass now covered barre class too! I spent the rest of the week excited about it and was the first to arrive to my class early Saturday morning.
The biggest thing for me to get used to was just how unlike barre was to actual ballet.
I had no idea what a social activity barre is! I was the only person in the class that came alone, and instead of stretching before class, everyone stood around and chatted with their friends while waiting for the instructor. Two women showed up 20 minutes tardy for the 60 minute class and then piled up on top of the attendees that had already staked out our spots. They were unapologetic, and no side eye was given by anyone. (Except for me… Sorry, I have personal space issues!)
I also didn’t realize that barre was such a fashion show! Everyone showed up in adorable workout gear that was definitely in “their color”, seemingly unnecessary matching headbands, and having done everything possible to look great without makeup. (I was at that moment thankful that my friend Chicago Prepster had told me how amazing Lululemon is, and that I had worn it that day. I also really wished I had a headband to cover up my hair that hadn’t been washed since 6 am Thursday morning.) Water breaks were frequent and encouraged, and some of the women had the cutest little glass water bottles! (Another big change from ballet class – we were given water breaks as a class, and we all lined up at the old water fountain in the hallway.) The biggest thing that shocked me was that women wore their rings! In ballet, we weren’t allowed to wear any jewelry, with the exception of one student who was Catholic and wore a necklace with a Saint on it.
The thing that it was hardest for me to grasp was that the barre was actually used! I was always taught that the barre was just kind of there as backup. Your hand rested lightly on it, and you expected your teacher to come by and lift your hand off at any time as a little balance test. But in my class, women were putting all of their weight on the barre, even just to stretch out after a series of exercises, and the barre shook and buckled the entire class. I think this is the biggest thing that I will have to adapt to!
After the class, my legs were jello. I couldn’t figure out if I was going to vomit or pass out first. (Luckily, neither happened. But I did sit in the car for 10 minutes before attempting to drive, drove the 1.5 miles home, and then plopped down on my couch and drank a gallon of water.) On Tuesday afternoon, the soreness in my legs finally started to subside. (Am I the only one who has a love/hate relationship with being sore?!)
Will I go back? Absolutely! My first class was a big learning experience, but I enjoyed actually understanding a workout. I’ll be taking four yoga classes before my next scheduled class, so I hope that will help me to be a little more prepared. Other things I will do to prepare: eat breakfast before I go, remember my water bottle, have my boyfriend drop me off/pick me up, and scope out an end spot at the barre to hopefully eliminate being at the “buckling” spot at the barre.
Have you been to barre class before? What did you think?!
Note: I paid for my barre class pass with my own money. All opinions are my own and are just that – opinions. 🙂 I’m sure all barre classes are different, and this specific review is the barre class where I hold my class pass.