Align Define is an intelligent barre class during which you move from larger movements that get your heart pumping to "feel-the-burn" pulses and isometric holds, efficiently conditioning your body. Our full body barre workout fuses the best elements of ballet, conditioning, and stretching for a unique and fun experience. Classes begin with a warm up focusing on postural alignment, followed by a combination of upper and lower body exercises using light weights, resistance bands, as well as weighted and unweighted balls. Afterward, we head to the mat for core work and close with an invigorating final stretch.
We spoke with Tara D. about the benefits of barre class and why she loves barre so much.
What are some of the benefits of barre workouts?
Barre exercise techniques target the muscles that help strengthen the core, improve posture, range of motion and endurance. Barre classes often focus on small movements called pulsing. While the movements are small, in Align Define we are sure to work the muscle in multiple locations to achieve a total body workout.
Can anyone do barre, or is it mostly for graceful dancer types?
The biggest misconception about barre is that you need to be graceful or have a dance background. Luckily this is false. Barre is for all levels of fitness. Barre is similar to Pilates in that it requires a simple mind-body connection rather than a dance background.
When I am teaching I focus more on verbal cues and foot placement to set students up in the correct form before beginning the exercise. I never use ballet-esq terms like “battement” or “fourth position,” because not everyone is familiar with ballet positions and choreography using these terms can make a student feel out of place or lost.
As an instructor, why do you love barre?
I love teaching barre because its a safe and effective workout, yet it's fun. Music is a big component of barre class, and there is a lot of room for variety and setting the vibe for the class your teaching that day. I love changing up my playlists from pop, dance, hip hop to rock and 80' and 90's.
Are the principles similar to Pilates or dance? Or are they different entirely?
The principles of barre have similarities to both Pilates and dance. Music is a driving force in a barre class, and its important to move with the tempo of the beat and the flow of the instructors rhythm, which is similar to dance. Barre is similar to Pilates in which it incorporates a lot of the principles of Pilates like precision, control, and concentration on breathing. It is also similar to Pilates in which most exercises work multiple muscle groups at the same time. During the leg workout part of a barre class, you should always engage your core, which helps with alignment and improves form.
What’s the history behind barre?
Barre was founded by Lotte Berk, a German born dancer, who created this method due to a back injury. Her goal was to combine ballet routines with her rehabilitative therapy into a form of exercise.
Are there any requirements to take a barre class?
While there are no specific requirements for taking a barre class, if it best to notify your instructor on any injuries or health issues you may have. Barre is for all levels of fitness, all ages and genders. It is ideal to wear leggings or fitness apparel that you can move fluidly in, and grip socks to avoid slipping.
Tara DeGregorio bio:
A fitness enthusiast for over 17 years, Tara took her first Pilates class 9 years ago. She immediately felt a natural connection to the smooth and graceful movements in Pilates that related to her younger years as a ballet dancer.
Tara has always pursued her many creative passions, finding ways to turn them into a career. In December 2014, Tara became a certified Pilates Instructor through the Equinox Pilates Institute. She obtained her first Barre certification in 2015 through Beyond the Barre Method. Tara holds two barre certifications and is also trained on Pilates Reformer through The Pilates on Fifth program.
Tara has been teaching pilates and barre for over four years. She integrates her skills and love of movement through teaching while focusing on form and fun. She brings a smile and positive energy to every class. Her goal is to deliver a beneficial and enjoyable experience while building strength and confidence. Tara is a barre and Pilates instructor and Assistant Manager at Align Brooklyn, NY.