Barre Belle. Hee, see cause it’s like a barbell but beautiful.

A friend treated me to a class at Barre Belle a while back, which is a barre sculpt studio in Hollywood, created, owned, and with all-classes-instructed by Marnie Alton, who was one of the original Bar Method instructors.
Gentle Reader, do you have beef with barre workout type classes? Because I don’t. Some adult beginners, I’ve heard, fear and disapprove of barre workouts on the grounds that these classes are close to but not actually ballet, and why do something ballet-ish when you could be doing actual ballet, and plus there’s that whole thing of being scared that a non-ballet class will mess up your technique, but this Adult Beginner is not scared or disapproving.
For one: ballet puns are hilarious and the more the better. Bar method! Barre Belles! Bwahaha! Keep ’em coming, guys!
There’s this one bar I drive past sometimes, called The Fifth, and I’m always So Sad that it’s an Amendment pun not a ballet pun.
For two: as errbody know, it’s hard to find a real, starting-from-first ballet class as an adult. If a barre workout type class can get you in, not make you cry, and maybe even introduce you to some feet and arm positions, that is a great start. Might just be enough to get a for reals beginner into a “beginner” ballet class. Worked for me.
For three: I’m buying this be-very-afraid-and-ever-vigilant-against-bad-technique thing less and less the older and more cranky I get. These days when I hear, “don’t take class other places, you’ll muddy your technique,” what I really hear is, “don’t go to any other teacher, they’ll ugly you with those nasty straight-backed arabesques, stay with us, one of us, one of us, one of ussssssss.”
There’s nothing wrong with keeping your back straight up and down during arabesque, it’s just not my teacher’s particular style. That’s his prerogative. Not bad technique.
Besides, I feel like the entire rest of my life —holding a kid on one hip, messenger bag on the other shoulder, being right-handed, spending my downtime on an iPad— is enough of a threat to the technique, so what’s one more workout gonna do. (It can only help, that’s what it’s gonna do.)
Anyway.
So, Barre Belle:
This is a really pretty studio.
Kind of funny to be in a beautiful boutique-y space for a workout, I mean, you go to enough ballet studios in LA and you start to think that the range from lovingly-worn-down to legitimately-gross is the norm, is just how exercise places are. And then you walk into a beautiful white space full of light with little tables full of orchids and fluffy white towels and you’re like Ooooooooooooooooooo.
Before I went to class I checked the website, of course, because nerd, and was delighted reading about the cork floor (to quote the website, “naturally anti microbial, hypoallergenic, and environmentally friendly”) and the non-competitive atmosphere, but kinda stopped cold at “High ceilings, sexy lighting and a thumping sound system.”
I was all like Aaah! Sexy lighting! What does that even mean???? Is this a sexy class? I don’t know if I’m up for a sexy class! Serious though, what is sexy lighting??? And then I had a sudden image in my head of the entire studio being lit not from with-in but from a giant red neon sign outside the widow flashing the words HOURLY MOTEL, and then I laughed for about ten minutes and then got over myself. Turns out the lighting in the studio is mostly natural, which I take to imply that natural is sexy, which is awesome.
Marnie and I were both wearing the gwenyth Modern Classic in ballet pink, (special thanks to gwenyth for sending me the top+tunic for testing and feedback purposes) so we totally looked like twins, except that she is a barre instructor and I am me.
Plus she was wearing a microphone pack.
Generally the Adult Beginner hates it when people are miked. My main experience with this being 1. Public Library Story Time (really? You’re gonna talk over the kids? Instead of low-talking them into quiet submission?) and 2. Spin Class (really? Why are you talking at all?! This whole class could be taught with three hand signals, dammit!) but in this case it worked. Marnie had a lot to say, specific things for us to concentrate on, and there were a lot of changes in movement to follow along with, so it was nice to actually hear her over the thumping sound system, which was well balanced and didn’t make me want to go all old and yell Turn Down That Racket unlike certain other classes I could name. (spin, I’m looking at you)
As far as ballet-ness, I was super impressed with everyone’s balance in the class. I was looking around the room during the balance moves and noticing everyone was like solid, whereas in my yoga class you can almost hear people thinking, “oooooo ggggggod, where my drishti at?????” and in ballet class there’s always so much tap-tapping at the barre as people lift that supporting hand up overhead. But these ladies and that one dude in class were like Bam. Balanced.
I felt like the level of balleticalness as opposed to workoutiness you get this class is kind of up to you. Part of the class I was aware of winging my feet and presenting my heel and having soft arms without being asked, kind of just to enhance the experience for myself, at other times I was just trying to stand at all and barely keeping up. It is a Good Workout. I was sore for days afterward, particularly from those things that are like first position demi-point pliés. Owwwww, inner thighs, owwwwww.
So, Barre Belle, A+
Also, friends who want to get together and work out. A+

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About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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3 Responses to Barre Belle. Hee, see cause it’s like a barbell but beautiful.

  1. Casey says:

    I don’t have a problem with these classes. They really aren’t meant to teach ballet technique. They are exercise classes and if it gets people off their butts, then good for them. These classes can tone the body and build muscle.

  2. Basia says:

    Totally agree! Ballet class rarely ups my heart rate and if it does then it’s only for 5min while we do jumping… I guess if you’re in a more advanced class that might be different.
    So it’s good to supplement with an aerobic version of ballet… At least it’s balletesque, not something completely different like running or cycling.

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