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Raising the barre


A new workout trend offers locals a graceful alternative.

Sky Nelson September 14th, 2011

As the Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero once said, “It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor.”

With this concept in mind, many local studios ask fitness aficionados and beginners alike to step up to the barre.

Barre is the latest fitness trend sweeping the nation. It combines the ballet barre, Pilates and yoga into one core-conquering workout, proving that being a ballerina isn’t a requirement when obtaining a dancer’s body.

Barre3, 5800 N. Classen Blvd., is a zen studio (pictured) located in Classen Curve. Participants can face a mirror, a wall or a window while flowing through pliés, stretches and abdominal work. Each class lasts approximately 60 minutes and will leave students with a sense of balance and fulfillment.

“Barre3 is very organic and mindful with low to no impact,” said Andrea Mason, Barre3 co-owner. “(It) is based on balance and is built on the notion of the tripod: life, the core value of our work and practice. It is very important for each person to honor their truth.”

The studio offers classes seven days a week; each class allows a maximum of 22 students. Currently, a foundations class is available that instills the knowledge of alignment. A standard Barre3 option is recommended for those looking to use static motions to elongate muscles on the ballet barre.

In November, an advanced class will be added to build on the standard Barre3 practices. Reservations for classes, as well as childcare appointments, can be made at barre3.com.

It combines the ballet barre, Pilates and yoga into one workout.

Four Graces Pilates Studio, 2828 W. Country Club Drive, offers the Xtend Barre class. It is unique because only mat Pilates-certified instructors are able to teach; a maximum of 10 can participate in each class. The small size allows for individual attention.

Xtend begins with a warm-up and various stretches. Next, lightweight arm work lengthens the muscles commonly disregarded during weight workouts. Ballet barre work follows, focusing on the lower half for 20-25 minutes.

While there, your heart rate will increase, encouraging maximum calorie burn. Xtend finishes with a high-powered, Pilates-based ab session that will leave even the toughest core feeling like a punching bag, but is sure to reveal results. The incorporation of cardio enforces the 400-600-calorie burn that can take place in each session.

“Xtend has staying power because it has a Pilates basis,” said Haley Wolfe, instructor at Four Graces.

Xtend Barre is offered seven days a week; spots can be reserved at 4gbarre. com. The techno music and encouraging mantras of Four Grace’s class fill participants’ ears as they try to think about anything and everything but their shaking thighs.

Nothing but Class, 3209 S. Broadway in Edmond, offers a Barre None class that utilizes a folding chair in lieu of a ballet barre. Classes are limited to 15 in each session.

“Barre None uses chairs and modified ballet so other toning will be incorporated. This makes it OK for both beginners and the more advanced,” said Alysha Cowan, Nothing but Class co-owner.

The toning benefits will make each hour-long, core-based workout worth sweating through. The studio also offers childcare, which allows moms to stretch and point their way through each session without outside stress.

Barre classes are meant for all fitness levels and will provide a new and exciting addition to workout schedules for fitness enthusiasts. Each plié, stretch and relevé will move participants one step closer to a “Black Swan” body.

Photo by Mark Hancock

 
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