Rosie set her sights on a dancer’s body at Barreworks, a boutique fitness studio in Richmond which combines the basic dance exercises with yoga and pilates for a full body workout, specialising in toning and strengthening. Let’s just say, the route to a dancer’s body is hard work!
What is it?
An exercise class using the ballet barre as a basis for a complete workout.
Who can do it?
Anyone who wants the body of a dancer! Classes will vary depending on the time and the instructor. Exercises can be adjusted for people with injuries or anyone who’s pregnant – make sure you tell the instructor before the class begins.
What do you need?
- Normal gym gear such as leggings and sports tops are fine.
- You can wear socks or go barefoot.
- Water bottle – though they do have a little water jug with cups outside the classroom if you need it.
Barreworks is an adorable dance studio based in Richmond. With one large changing room, which looks more like a posh dance shop changing room and one studio equipped with mirrors and a very ‘homely’ feel, I could certainly believe that this is a place where dancers, (or at least the bodies of a dancer) are made.
I’ve always been SO envious of dancers, particularly ballet dancers. They look great, they carry themselves so nicely and they have the strength of an ox – without the size. I know the amount of stamina they need is insane, but when I heard there was a class with a barre to lean on, I thought it would be fine for my level of fitness. (Think sedentary office sloth.)
Peeking in to see the class before ours, I could see little squishy gym balls being used, and power rings. It looked like a punishing class and felt like someone* had mis-sold the evening to me… (*Eliza).
Led by Zhivka Slavova, our Bareworks Fusion class didn’t involve power rings, but it was certainly no less intense. Exercises focused mainly on the legs and glutes and boy, do you really feel the strain. They were simple exercises, but very effective and the poses helped with toning and posture.
A quick warm up got us moving and then we got down on the floor. We put the little gym balls between our thighs and there were a lot of leg raises and stretches which brought me back to school gym days, except now my toes felt like miles away from my fingers. I caught Eliza’s face in the mirror and she was stifling a laugh at my shaking legs, which were struggling at the intense legs lifts. Nothing like a good confidence booster to help you through the next 45 minutes of the class…
We moved to the ballet barre, which helps to prop you up when you’re doing excruciating leg raises. A lot of the work has to come from your legs and your core, so you can’t solely rely on the barre to keep you standing. (I’m surprised that newcomers were allowed to go near the barres without constant supervision because I very nearly went head first into the mirror at one point.)
The warm-down was the exciting part. We got to choose (out of a gorgeous selection) a little cushion to place under our heads. The lights went off and we went into a savasana pose and focused on our breathing and our energy, making sure we were as relaxed as possible. Zhivka then came around and placed a small scented bean-bag (also made from a selection of beautiful material) and placed them over our eyes to make sure were really zoning out.
I was definitely sad to be disturbed from the nap, but I felt great after the class. I was left with a suitable amount of pain in my legs and core and could definitely feel that if I went every week that my body could get stronger and more agile (though will probably never look good in a tutu).
Barreworks wasn’t a particularly animated class; it wasn’t overly sweaty and my heart wasn’t pounding by the end of it. However, don’t underestimate the power of a Barreworks class – just look at Zhivka and the rest of the instructors!
Try Barreworks for yourself
There are 3 different types of classes to try: Fusion, Workout and Ballet Workout. Rosie tried the fusion.
How much: A trial class is £12 and includes a 2nd FREE class, drop-in classes are £25 but discount packages are available, as are new client offers.
Where is it: Vestry House, 21 Paradise Road, Richmond TW9 1SA
More information: www.barreworks.co.uk