Beauty and the “Barre”

MG_7958-1If you read fashion magazines you have probably noticed a growing exercise trend called the “barre” method. It is a combination of ballet, pilates and yoga promised to sculpt your arms, thighs, abs and give your back end a boost.  From Allure to the New York Times fashion section women have suddenly started flocking to this new routine.

Pure Barre is the fastest, most effective way to change the shape of your body. Using small isometric movements at the ballet barre set to motivating music, Pure Barre lifts your seat, tones your thighs, abs and arms and burns fat in record breaking time. Clients see results in just 10 classes, lose inches in weeks and have fun doing it!” –

After reading this who wouldn’t be mildly curious? I had forgotten about this until 2 weeks ago when I was glancing at facebook and saw a post for a Pure Barre studio that opened in Centerville. I checked out the schedule and looked over the website. I decided to go and try the 9am class (your first class is free) It was good timing as my dad had bought me a ticket to Florida the night before and I had not seen a gym since October. Being the paranoid person I am I began reading blogs about peoples experiences at Pure Barre. What do you wear? What do I need? Am I going to look like an idiot? I soon found out that I needed to wear the usual yoga clothes, socks and bring water. Easy enough. I messaged my husband and told him I was heading to this new exercise studio to work out and he responded with “good luck” and “it looks kinda snobby” I had registered online and there was no going back so I headed to my first class.

Barre1It is important for me to stress that I am in no way a dancer and my flexibility is very limited so I was nervous. The only kind of dance I ever did was jazz class when I was 8, even then I couldn’t keep up. I had no idea what to expect. Would it be like the time I tried aerobics and I got so frustrated that I just sat on my step because I couldn’t get the steps? Most women will agree going into a new exercise place without a friend can be very intimidating. I arrive to nice modern building decorated for the holidays and I walk into a room selling Lululemon and grippy socks for twelve dollars. First I should note that I was late and the website stresses never be late but alas I got lost. The woman at the front desk was very nice and had already set up my stuff for me in the main room. The class had already began and I jumped in with the hopes of not being noticed. It started out easy enough some stretching, light weights and a 90 second plank (this is where you need the grippy socks) then we headed to the bar to do some thigh work. Right hand on the bar, right leg slightly bent, left leg back and up with toes pointed. Then we began doing small movements like circles and moving the leg up and down. Seems easy? Suddenly my right leg that was bent began shaking like it was going to run away! Apparently that is a good thing according to the instructor who keeps saying 30 seconds. You can do anything for thirty seconds. After the bar torture we return to do some stretching before going back to the bar then on to the ab work. Many of the exercises require you to hold a ball between your thighs while tucking your hips and trying not to fall over. I finished the class with mixed feelings. Some things were difficult and some were easy but I didn’t really feel like I did that much until the next morning.

Waking up the next day after my first Pure Barre class my thighs were sore, my abs on fire and my back side was tighter (I think) okay maybe there is something to this place. I decided to take a day off and try another class the following day. I arrived early this time and purchased the special package of 6 classes for $50.00 that had to be used in 14 days otherwise it is $21 a class. I also purchased the $12 grippy socks. Attempting a plank on carpet without them was trying. My fellow classmates arrive, all two of them, who were also both a size 2. Great. Once again the class begins and I struggle through the stretching as my classmates are bent like pretzels. We begin our bar work sitting on the floor this time right leg bent in front and left leg bent back. Now she instructs us to lift the left leg and make circles??? Okay this one is near impossible but I keep trying. Sweat is pouring off of me by this time and I am definitely feeling something burn. The instructor keeps telling me “good focus” which to me means “nice try” lol and I of course was also the one she gave the stretchy band to  because I couldn’t stretch my legs straight up. I finished class 2 drenched in sweat and little disheartened. Any woman who has been over weight and then loses weight will at some point feel like that over weight person again. This was my day. Although I am a normal size 8 being surrounded by flexible size 2 women made me feel like the fat kid in gym class l0l.

Barre2I called my husband who of course assured my I was not fat and that I was there to get in shape. I decided not to give up and I am now on class 7 . My overall opinion is that the class is working. I feel good about myself when I leave and I am starting to notice that every class gets a little easier. Sure my abs are still shaking during the tiny up and down movements but the instructors are always knowledgeable and help me with my position.  I am finding that I am actually starting to look forward to working out again. I still cannot do some of the exercises but I am guessing in time I will be able to.  Unlike my previous experience mentioned above I am now seeing more normal size people in the classes, which is nice.   My next step will be to try the unlimited month and see where it goes from there. Maybe one of the biggest lessons I am learning is to accept my body for the way it is. I am not the woman who can do the splits or stretch my leg back to my nose. I am not the graceful ballet dancer but I am in there trying and having fun while pouring with sweat. I guess you could say for now I am hooked on the Pure Barre Method.

To check out the Centerville location schedule and pricing or to read more about the method visit


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avatar About Michelle Richardson

Michelle has been in the beauty industry for over 10 years working for such companies as MAC, Clinique, Revlon, Benefit and everywhere from the runway to weddings. She founded her own onsite makeup artistry business in 2006, A Vogue Idea, and in 2007 joined up with local photographer Tracy Abston as the studio makeup artist for Blush Boudoir. Her love of pinup, vintage fashion and classic beauty led her to specialize in wedding couture and become a beauty go to in the Dayton area.

Michelle's DMM Column "A Woman’s Right to Beauty" covers the latest and greatest beauty trends in local area as well as the industry. It focuses on affordable ways the everyday woman can look and feel like a starlet.