by: Lynda Bassett
Imagine having a ballerina’s physique, grace, strength and flexibility. That’s the potential of barre.
“Barre is a combination of ballet, yoga and Pilates principles. We use small, isometric movements to temporarily fatigue muscles and make them long and lean. The so-called fatigue is what causes muscles to shake, and therefore, change,” explains Nadia Yokarini-Kotsonis, a certified barre instructor at Physique Fitness Studio, in Grove City, Ohio. Students use a ballet barre to support themselves while doing the exercises.
Yokarini-Kotsonis is among many former dancers that have embraced barre fitness. Trained in ballet, tap, contemporary and traditional dance in Athens, Greece, she discovered barre when she moved to the U.S. “I fell in love with how challenging it was and the effects and changes I saw in my body. I got certified a year later and have been teaching ever since. I’m still in love with practicing it, no matter how tired I might be beforehand,” she says.
Rather than a cardiovascular regimen, “Barre is good for developing core strength. You gain overall flexibility, muscle strength, improved posture and range of motion,” says Lisa Juliet, West Coast regional director of the teacher certification program (BarreCertification.com).
Not Just for Dancers
While barre has had some U.S. presence since the 1950s, “It’s having a resurgence now,” says Charlene Causey, a certified natural health professional and ballet body barre instructor in Pueblo, Colorado.
Newfound interest began on both coasts and is quickly becoming a Midwest mainstay, according to Yokarini-Kotsonis, who says it’s one of the most popular classes she teaches, and other studios are following suit. She remarks, “Everyone wants to offer barre, and everyone wants to come to a class and see what it’s about.” READ MORE