First Time at the Barre

By Gail on
Barre Blast Illustration

I recently encouraged one of my Balletone students, Gina, owner of Ampersand Editing, to try a Barre Blast class. Here’s what she has to say about the class (next we have to get her in a Ballet class):

As someone without a dance background, the idea of taking a fitness class inspired by ballet moves is a little intimidating. And, as someone who is active, but also not in the best of shape, the idea of taking something called “Barre Blast” is downright nerve-wracking.  Yet, that was the class I walked into last Friday at Albany Dance & Fitness (ADF).

Though I was worried I might soon fall on my not-so-graceful bottom during or right after Barre Blast, I was comforted by knowing I would not be faced with two other issues that sometimes keep me from taking fitness classes: an aggressive instructor and an overly-packed class.

Having taken a few Balletone classes with Gail, I knew she was far from the type of instructor who yells at her students to get them to push their limits. Even while giving the class an intense workout she is encouraging and kind, sometimes laughing and usually smiling the whole time. I also knew Gail likes to keep her ADF classes on the smaller side, so I wouldn’t have to worry, if I did fall over, about creating a domino effect in a crammed class.

Nevertheless, I was still nervous. So, before Barre Blast began, I took a long drink of water to prepare myself for the workout—I’d heard about other barre workouts that are so intense students want to fall over at the end, and I wanted to at least prevent dehydration, if possible.

Gail began the class with showing us the basics of what we needed to know—such as, how to stand at the barre to improve balance and avoid injury. She was also very clear about the moves—always showing us them first and then doing them along with the class. If I, or my classmates, were positioned incorrectly, she was certain to let us know and help us remedy it.

Of course, Gail’s friendly and attentive demeanor was expected. What wasn’t expected was how much I would love the class! Indeed, it was challenging. As we progressed into the class I felt sweat drip down my neck, and there were more than one set of exercises where I felt “the blast” part of the work out. For instance, there was one move where we used the stretchy band hooked under our foot for resistance as we extended the leg and moved it in circles to the side. By the last set of circles I was glad I had the barre to help me keep my balance.

The thing I liked most about the class was what a good workout it was without having to do 100 reps of each exercise, which besides being really challenging can often be boring. Instead Gail would instruct us on one set of exercises and then effortlessly move us into another to offer a nice mixture of strengthening and toning along with cardio.

Even some of the mat work, though it was indeed intense, actually seemed less challenging to manage with the way Gail had us use the weights—they actually seemed to help me focus and keep my balance.

By the end of the class I had worked up quite a sweat, but by no means did I feel worn out. In fact, not once did I feel as if I was going to fall over! Instead of being exhausted, I was energized. And, by the next afternoon, I could feel the impact it had with the nice soreness in my muscles I only get from a good workout. It’s funny to think how worried I was about the class before taking it—that, to some degree, I looked forward to getting it over with. But now, I can’t wait to take it again!

Barre Blast is offered on Wednesday, 5:00pm and Friday, 10:45am, and also as a Saturday Shake-up class.

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