Cross-training isn’t a new concept for dancers, but doing so in a carpeted space in a shopping mall might not sound like hitting an elliptical at the gym. At Barre Las Vegas, though, customers are invited to don socks and stand at, yes, a barre, for an hour-long workout inspired by the noble art of ballet.
The barre physique technique draws from yoga, core strengthening, flexibility and cardio for a comprehensive workout designed to tone the upper body, core, legs and “seat” (or what your ballet teacher would call a derriere.) Each class clocks in at an hour, which is shorter than most dance classes, but that hour packs a punch.
I took a Mixed Barre class from Drea Lee, another Vegas dancer, and I was struck by both the similarities and the differences of this Barre business. For instance, unlike ballet, the workout starts with center work. And weights.
Another Barre employee advised that I grab a pair of the lightest weights to start out, saying that they get heavy quickly. While I’m not one to doubt the strength imparted upon me by dance teachers demanding push-ups, I’m also not one to disregard sensible advice, and this seemed to fall under that category.
Forget the push-ups. By the end of the arms series, those little pink weights seemed brutal. The choreographed workout did a great job of targeting muscle groups and working areas like biceps, triceps, deltoids and lats. For dancers that want to up their upper body strength, the first third of class alone could seal the deal.
The workout continued with exercises at the barre that engaged quadriceps and hamstrings. It might take some adjustment for dancers to complete an entire plie series with a lifted heel or hip circles, but the physical aspect is undeniable: even if it’s not conventional ballet, it isn’t easy.
The ab work was accentuated by a clever strap-and-barre arrangement that fully utilized obliques that can be skimmed over in a traditional sit-up. This part of the class would probably be familiar to Pilates enthusiasts, along with that lovely burning sensation. Simply put, the intensity of the class continued.
A few exercises targeting the lower back and a nice cool-down stretch rounded out the barre class. Plank positions and push-ups were interspersed throughout and the dance-mix-style music contributed to the cardio feel. My muscles were quivering by the end of the hour, but I appreciated the fact that I didn’t have to hop on a treadmill to achieve that level of fatigue. Given a choice between a barbell and a barre, I’ll take the barre.
Barre Las Vegas has two locations, one each in Town Square and Summerlin. Classes can be paid for individually at $20 apiece or purchased as part of a number of packages, which cost $79 and up. Semi-private and private lessons are also available. For more information about location, pricing and class offerings, roll on over to the Barre Las Vegas homepage.