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Benefits of Barre Classes For Dancers

Barre integrates elements of Dance, Yoga, Pilates, and functional training while using a ballet barre as a prop. Barre classes target large core muscle groups that can be neglected in conventional strength training. The quick paced classes are choreographed to today's top 40 hits to keep participants motivated and moving! After just a few Barre classes participants can notice enhanced knee alignment, improved balance, and greater quad and hamstring strength. One may also notice less tension in the hip flexors thereby experiencing greater endurance and range of motion in hips. As a Barre and dance specialist, here are my top 5 reasons why Barre is beneficial as a cross training class for dancers:

  • For the love of the ISOMETRIC hold! This is why Barre class looks so easy, the class is “barely moving” and those “tiny one inch movements” do not appear very challenging at all. WRONG! Isometric holds work to the deepest layer of muscles, challenging them while gaining strength and muscular endurance. By performing tiny motions (pulses), the body maintains the integrity of the isometric hold and posture required to get the maxiumum benefit while providing a small amount of relief which builds strength and endurance. For the grande finale, the full range of movement (flushing it out) allows oxygenated blood to reach the fatiguing muscles while the cardio aspect of the movements also challenges your cardio-respiratory system.

  • Let’s hear it for your CORE! Absolutely every posture in Barre class allows participants to build and maintain a strong connection with the core muscles! Healthy core muscles protect the spine, enhance posture and alignment, and relieve stress on other joints.

  • Full Body Workout! As Dancers we tend to work in the same positions and often build imbalances in strength and structure that can lead to injury. Barre provides a full body work out from head to toe that engages every muscle in the body in some way. Barre is kind to the joints, but relentless on the muscles.

  • Rapid Results With Challenge! Barre works muscles to fatigued (wherein smaller stabilizing muscles are also recruited to support the fatigued primary muscle groups) to gain strength in the deepest layer of muscles. Within a few classes participants feel stronger, longer, and leaner. Dancers will notice a difference in the height of sautés and grand jetés, and since Barre works balance, those pirouettes are also noticably improved. There is always a challenge since Barre never gets easier! All exercises can be modified to make the sequences more challenging.

  • F.U.N. The 60 minutes spent in Barre class flies by because it is always fun! The class is fast paced, with a variety of exercises performed to music that will pump you up! You will leave class on a “barre high” feeling energized.

As a dancer first and foremost I spent most of my training and career with knee pain and injury. I worked with countless trainers and sports rehabilitation centresn but continued to live with pain. Nothing can be more frustrating than an injury you can never quite resolve. Since investing in my Barre practice, I discovered how beneficial this method truly can be. I am injury free and feel stronger than ever! I use my S2SD Kit both in and out of the studio to help me gain and maintain strength as well as prevent injury. You might be cursing the instructor in your head as your legs and core shake uncontrollably and your glutes feel like they are on fire, but you will be thanking them later!

Brittany is S2SD's Performance and Industry Dance Specialist and brings her knowledge and skill in Barre fitness to every studio she visits. Here is more about Britt and she can be found teaching Barre at Studio BLiSS: Ann Green Yoga, BarreEssentials at The Dance Academy of Barrie and teaching dance at The Dance Academy of Barrie, Dance Fusion, & Kreative Dance Company.

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