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What is Barre Fitness?

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By Sorina Fant / Edited by Samantha Bellerose, B.Ed, Dip.Dance (Performing Arts)

Barre fitness is an amazing workout inspired by ballet, pilates, and yoga movements. It allows participants to engage in a low-impact, highly beneficial physical activity. Barre fitness classes increase strength, improve flexibility and balance while also increasing core stability. 

Lotte Berk, a German ballet dancer, created Barre fitness in 1959. She was focused on core stability and used a combination of moves from her dance and yoga training to design the popular barre classes that people worldwide continue to enjoy today. 

Even though barre fitness is a slow-paced, low-impact exercise, it is an aerobic workout that will increase the heart rate but not enough to be considered cardio. It is also easy on the joints with low-risk movements that decrease the chance of injury. Many people of all ages, those with pre-existing conditions as well as people in amazing shape, enjoy the physical benefits of barre fitness. 

Movements such as relevés and pliés are incorporated into Barre fitness routines to strengthen muscles and burn calories while focusing on correct technique and proper alignment.  

While barre fitness is low-impact, it can be tailored to be a more intense workout by including challenging moves and increasing the intensity. Weights can also be added to a routine to add additional resistance and opportunity for strength training. 

Barre fitness classes are held indoors, usually in gyms or dance/workout studios, with access to a ballet bar. Participants can also anticipate the use of resistance bands, balls, and weights during a barre fitness class. 

This page is just one of hundreds of definitions of the many styles and genres of dance. This library is being continually added to by the writers and contributors of Dance Parent 101!