1. Bare feet - Leave your shoes at the door. Like yoga and pilates, ballet barre is best practised in bare feet. When the cold weather hits, or if a pedicure is long overdue, then invest in a pair of grippy socks to get you through class without slipping.
2. Over-confidence - Strength comes in many guises. On arrival at the barre studio - a quiet, contemplative and beautiful space - your tender will likely be laying out yoga mats, small weights and exercise balls. Classmates arrive, seating themselves on their chosen mat and seeming quietly contemplative. At this point it’s easy to underestimate their strength and skill - a mistake that won’t last long beyond the second repetition of push ups.
3. Small movements - Repetition is the key to success when it comes to barre. Movements are small to isolate and target muscles and weights, when used, are minimal, usually 1kg at the most. The aim is not to bulk up the body with excess muscle mass, but to craft a long, lean physique that is deceptively strong (as per point 2!).
4. Shaky legs - Small movements target certain muscles, while ensuring that joints are protected - this targeted focus tires the muscles and this is where ballet barre really hits its straps. This combination of hard work followed by stretching ensures that muscles are strong but also lean and toned. Expect to shake during class - in fact, you’re likely to be congratulated on it by your Tender. You’re working hard!
5. Great tunes - Undertaking ballet barre should be a sensory experience to be enjoyed. From the simple beauty of the studio to the taste of the juice shot at the end of each class - the aim is to connect with the space around you and with your own strength and ability. Music enhances all that we do our Aleenta Barre tenders carefully select playlists that complement and enhance each class - encouraging motivation, celebration and relaxation.
6. Technique, technique, technique - Be prepared to be coached by your Tender, potentially quite a lot, on the proper way to undertake each move throughout your class. Excellent techique equates to an effective workout and a little change can make a huge difference. Your Tenders are there to ensure you’re getting the most out of each class. Yoga, pilates and ballet are all focussed on correct technique - and it’s no different at the barre.
7. Admiration - There are no designated breaks during each class. Instead your Tender will encourage you to work at your own pace and stop when needed. When you do stop for a moment, take a look around you and recognise the skill, strength and effort that some of your fellow barre-aficionados have put into their training.
8. Feelings of inadequacy - Hand in hand with point 6 comes a moment when admiration turns into something akin to defeat. Negative thoughts can crowd the mind - how will I ever be able to get through a whole class, with perfect technique, looking as posed as those around me (who are clearly recruits direct from The Australian Ballet)? When this happens, look to point 3 and think “small movements". Finish today’s class, come back tomorrow, talk to your Tender about technique tips. It will all fall into place.
9. Mindfulness & Connectedness - While each barre class may be different, all end with the goal of leaving students with a sense of peace, space, mindfulness and connectedness with their body and movement. Expect to stand a little bit taller, walk a little more gracefully and leave a little more engaged in the present than when you arrived. Hold on to this feeling throughout the day and you will have truly grasped the barre philosophy.
10. A juice shot - A healthy treat at the end of each class - juice shots refresh, revitalise and reinvigorate, congratulating the body on its hard work and readying muscles for recovery. Our favourites include MOJO Kombucha.