Hang in there...
Virgin Active is raising the Barre with new fusion ballet class fresh from the studios of LA
24 Aug 2015
An innovative new class that delivers a fusion of classical ballet, Pilates, yoga and dance is taking centre stage at Virgin Active from September.
The new Barre workout is powered by the bootybarre®, developed by LA-based Pilates, dance, and fitness expert Tracey Mallett. Barre combines classical ballet moves with Pilates, yoga and balance to offer a fun, energetic workout that will tone, define and sculpt the whole body.
The aim of the class is to take ballet beyond the preserve of prima ballerinas and grand jeté it into the 21st Century. It is one of the many innovations that have been brought to clubs by Virgin Active’s Discovery Lab, a panel of experts committed to finding new ways for people to work out and travelling the world in search of the latest fitness trends and innovations.
The hour long class is set to the latest upbeat, high energy chart hits and begins with a ballet inspired, Pilates and Yoga based conditioning warm-up, followed by a section focusing on arm strength incorporating light weights and high repetition ranges.
The next 30 minutes of the class is a mix of ballet inspired, Pilates and Yoga movements at the barre that is designed to build flexible strength in the legs, hips, core and upper body. It’s here that members will ‘feel the burn’ through their bum and thighs. Whilst still at the barre, exercises are progressed and enhanced by the use of a Pilates ball for an extra challenge.
The final part of the class is based on Pilates exercises on and off the barre to focus on precision and control to work the core more before ending with Yoga inspired, graceful stretches.
Barre is perfect for anyone who is looking for the physical benefits of ballet - toning, flexibility, improved strength, and rhythm - but who might be intimidated by its strict classical origins. Working on the barre not only aids balance, it is used to add increase resistance to give an all-over workout that pushes the participant to their own personal limit.
Gillian Reeves, Virgin Active’s National Group Exercise Manager comments: “As part of Virgin Active’s Discovery Lab, I am always on the hunt for new fitness innovations and trends, especially when it comes to bringing our members exciting ways to get active, that they may not have tried. Not only is Barre fun but it’s also an effective workout. Tracey and I met in the US and she is one of the industry’s leading fitness experts in Pilates and Barre and was one of the first to create a ballet barre related fitness class, so it’s fantastic to be able to bring this to Virgin Active in the UK.’’
“With Barre fitness classes such a hot fitness topic, it was important for us to find the right class for our members and Tracey’s programme really stood out. Her well established and well respected programme, bootybarre®, honours the integrity of both Barre and Pilates to give a great workout that is a lot of fun.”
LA-based Pilates, dance and fitness expert and the creator of the bootybarre®, Tracey Mallett, explains: “My goal has always been to break down the pre-conceptions of traditional ballet and offer something energetic and fresh that still helps achieve the toned, strong body type that ballerinas are so well-known for. I have created a programme that all Virgin Active members, regardless of their Ballet or Pilates experience, will find challenging, rewarding, and most of all – fun!”
To celebrate the launch the class in the UK, Virgin Active worked with ‘Extreme Ballerina’ Agathe Petrini, herself a fan of Barre, and photographed her in beautiful but extreme ballet, dance inspired poses at well-known London landmarks. The beautiful photographs show the strength, flexibility and agility Agathe has developed through years of dance and just how thrilling ballet can be.
Agathe Petrini says: “As a dance teacher, it’s important for me to keep in shape so I am able to push my body to its absolute limit, and Barre is complementary to my dance regime. It’s great to see ballet being made more accessible for everyone to discover in the form of Barre, no matter your age or experience.
The strength and flexibility I’ve gained through years of training means I can go further and take my poses to extreme locations around the globe, from the top of the French Alps, to London’s iconic red telephone boxes. I’m excited to inspire the nation with my passion for ballet through the new Barre class.”
Barre powered by bootybarre® is available exclusively at selected Virgin Active Health Clubs from September. Click here to find your local Virgin Active.