At Ellie Herman Studios, we offer daily Brooklyn Barre Classes at our ANNEX location at 463 4th street in Park Slope Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Barre is a smart, dynamic barre workout that combines functional exercise with basic dance moves, Pilates mat and Springboard exercises. Brooklyn Barre incorporates props including yoga block, yoga blanket, Gertie Ball, and theraband. Brooklyn Barre classes are safe for all ages and populations.
Ellie Herman is now offering Brooklyn Barre Certification. Click here for more info.
The History of “Barre” Methods
Ballet originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century and later developed into a concert dance form in France and Russia. Barre is French for bar, and a “barre” has been used in ballet training as a support to help with balance while practicing traditional ballet technique.
Modern “barre” techniques can be traced back to Lotte Berk who, like Joseph Pilates, fled Germany because of the Nazis. (Lotte Berk fled to the UK in 1938 because she was Jewish, while Pilates fled to New York City supposedly because the Nazis wanted to recruit him to train the uber German body).
Lotte Berk developed a fitness regime in the UK that incorporated barre and other dance-related and core strengthening exercises. Her technique was popular in the sixties and seventies in New York city and other cities around the world. Since then other individuals and companies have developed “barre” programs that use a ballet barre and incorporate different fitness concepts. Now there are many fitness franchises in the US that incorporate the ballet barre.
How is Ellie Herman’s Brooklyn Barre different from other Barre Methods?
While many of the current barre methods do exercises that may make your legs and tummy look good, they ultimately can damage the knee joints and lumbar spine.
Neutral Pelvis v. Flat Back
Like classical Pilates and the Lotte Berk method, many of the current barre franchise regimes place the pelvis in a poster pelvic tilt instead of a neutral pelvis. Why is this not ideal? Posterior pelvic tilt can put pressure on the lumbar vertebrae and can ultimately lead to disc dysfunction. Also when performing a squat or “plie” (French for knee bend) in a posterior pelvic tilt, it puts pressure on the patella and knee joint, while doing these exercises in a neutral pelvic placement distributes the load evenly to the hips and the knees.
Up on your Toes v. Heels Down
Also many of the barre franchises teach squats and “plies” while up on the toes instead of keeping heels down on the ground. Why is this not ideal? Doing squats and “plies” on your toes puts undo pressure on your patella and ultimately damages the knee joints.
Ellie Herman’s Brooklyn Barre is the functional answer to the barre trend that is spreading across the country and the world. You can rest assured that the exercises in this book are safe for your spine, hips and knees.
Ultimately, Ellie’s vision is to create a fitness regime that can be done in a jail cell. While having access to a Pilates studio with all the accessories is ideal, complete fitness can be achieved with just a space on the floor. Most important when doing any exercise regime is that the form is correct.