Class Review – Ballet Barre

I love dancing. I did an adult ballet class for about 7 years in my late 20s/early 30s and really enjoyed it. It was really hard work on the legs, but my posture was great and I was more flexible than I was as a teenager. We didn’t used to do shows or anything (thankfully), but the discipline of practice at the barre and then some time spent doing some actual dancing was great.

Ballet barre

I drifted away from it when I got more into triathlon and worked abroad for a period, and haven’t managed to get back into it since. So, I was pleased to see a ballet barre class go onto the timetable at my gym. It definitely seems to be a thing currently, with variations popping up all over the place.

I finally managed to make it to a class last Sunday. There is a permanent barre at one end of the studio, but there was also a foldaway one in the centre, so it wasn’t too crowded. The session consisted of a warm up, then a number of different exercises based fairly loosely on ballet moves. The majority of the class was leg focussed, with several sets of plies and leg extensions – each set included a high number of repetitions, so my legs were definitely feeling it by the end! There was also a bit of floor work to focus on the abs, this was mainly planks, so not particular dance related! The choice of soundtrack was also weird – obviously this would vary by teacher, but this particular instructor had chosen a medley of early nineties dance. Now, whilst I’m in no way averse to a bit of 2 unlimited in the right circumstance, this wasn’t them and it was all wrong.

I have to say I was a bit disappointed. For me, it didn’t include the discipline (focus on the technique) or the fun (the actual dancing!) of a proper ballet class. Although my legs felt a bit jelly like during the class, I didn’t really feel like I’d worked hard and for the time poor (like me!), it didn’t feel like a good investment of time – neither an great workout or a particularly enjoyable way to spend 45 mins.

I don’t think I’ll be going back to this particular class, but if you’re looking for something gentle and haven’t done much ballet, you may enjoy it. Personally I will continue my quest to find an actual dance class which isn’t trying to be anything else!

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