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Barre Class 101--Part III: Stepping Into The Studio

Congratulations–you made it! Getting yourself to a class, let alone one that is brand new to you, is something to be applauded. The hardest part about any workout is getting through the door!

Before Class Starts:

  • Try to introduce yourself to the instructor. If the class is established, likely the instructor will introduce themself to you. Now, I can't speak for all instructors, but please remember that we have A LOT of choreography in our heads and we might have to ask your name 5-50 times before it sinks in...

  • Communicate: If you have anything going on in your body that the instructor should know about, tell them! Tell them if you prefer certain pronouns. Tell them if you would rather not receive hands-on corrections.

  • Ask your classmates what kind of equipment you need. More than likely they will show you exactly what you will be using and where to find it. (Everyone is always very friendly!)

In MY classes, we start with a short warm up in the middle of the room and then use light dumbbells for arm work:

  • I recommend 3-5 lb dumbbells. We do a lot of repetitions and heavier weights are inappropriate for shoulder health. Please do not argue with me! I don't care how fit you are--trust me, you do not want anything over 5 lbs. The armwork circuit is really not about sculpting the muscles in your arms. It is about challenging your core and technique.


  • If there are permanently mounted barres at the studio, choose a spot somewhere in the middle. When you start, you will have someone to follow in front of you and when you turn around, you will still have someone to follow.

  • If the barres are free standing or if you are using chairs as barres (as in our current case), go get one and situate yourself in the middle of the room.

    • Please be aware of your classmates: please do not stand directly in front of someone (in the case of portable barres) if you can help it. Rule of thumb--they were there first, so please work around them.

During Class:

  • Don't compare yourself to others!

  • Don't worry about what you think you look like. No one except the teacher is looking at you, and that is only for safe body mechanics. Everyone is focused on themselves.

  • Don't be discouraged if it doesn't come easily. That's ok!

  • Do modify the things that don't feel right. Use a smaller range of motion or fewer repetitions. Keep in mind, though, if you are standing in a row at a permanent barre, it is recommended that you maintain the tempo for your safety.

  • Do listen to the music and stay on the beat.

  • Do take water breaks when you need it.

  • Don't be afraid to move and have fun!

After Class:

  • Always clean your barre, your equipment, and mat.

  • Feel free to ask your teacher any questions if you are unclear about anything.

  • If it's your first class, reach out and chat with your classmates.

  • If you've been attending for a while and notice a newbie, reach out to them and congratulate them on coming.

Barre class is a staple in my life. It has helped me find both outward strength, inward strength and both emotional and physical endurance. It has helped me prehab and rehab two hip replacements. It was taught me discipline, alignment while moving through space, and has given me space to laugh, grow, and develop friendships and community. My hope is that you enjoy it as much as I do.

See you at the barre!

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