Raising The Barre
Whirling about the stage and dazzling audiences, the ballet dancer is a true artist. The dancer’s seemingly effortless technique might leave mere mortals perplexed. Just how did she get her leg all the way up there? For fitness fiends who are bewildered and inspired, we bring you an approachable version of the dancer’s workout, the barre class. Black leotards and pink tights not required.
Barre classes focus on small, isometric movements combined with stretches to lengthen muscles. Movements are derived from The Lotte Berk Method, an exercise developed in the late 1960s by Berk, a German dancer.
Balanced Fitness and Health’s barre instructor Silvia Giamanco has three typical barre class moves that can easily be done at home:
• Relevé Plié. Stand in first position (feet and heals together and toes turned out about 45 degrees), legs straight and hands gently resting on the back of a chair. Standing up straight and with abs tight rise onto the balls of your feet. Plié—bend knees out over toes—only about half-way down. Straighten legs, squeezing thighs together as you extend, and lower heels.
• Rear Fly and Arabesque Lift. Grab a dumbbell in left hand and stand tall with feet parallel and touching with the right hand resting on the back of chair. Extend right leg behind, pointing toes towards the floor. Bend left knee and pivot forward from hips, keeping back flat and abs tight, reaching left arm towards the floor. Open left arm wide out to the side while lifting right leg behind hip. Lower arm and leg. Alternate left and right legs.
• Triceps Shaver. Stand in first position; hold dumbbells at your side. Raise arms over head, bend elbows out to the sides and lower weights slightly behind your head. Keep abs tight and press up onto the balls of feet. Extend arms over head slightly in front of body, palms facing forward. Lower heels and bend elbows at the same time, lowering the weights behind your head.
Silvia Giamanco teaches Balanced Fitness and Health. To learn more about Balanced Fitness and Health or to sign up for a class, please visit: http://www.balancedfitnesshealth.com.