Ballerina Brooke Lockett makes a case for taking up barre classes
If you love the ballet, then the name Brooke Lockett will need no introduction. But just in case you missed the memo, let us give you a little background. Living every little girl’s dream of becoming a Ballerina, Brooke joined the acclaimed Australian Ballet School at the age of 13, leaving behind the comfort of her small country town upbringing to chase the bright lights of Melbourne.
Going on to travel the world with The Australian Ballet through productions such as Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, her revered career took her to places such as New York, London and Japan. And when Brooke wasn’t busy gracing the stage with her endearing presence, she was The Australian Ballet’s media darling showing us all what it really took to live the life of a ballet dancer (no easy feat we can tell you that much!).
Having hung up her slippers not long ago, Brooke is now rejoicing in her latest role as a soon to be first-time mum and wife. Not one to give up her ballet roots altogether, she is also teaching barre classes at The Well in Bondi (talk about dream locations!). Maintaining her ballerina posture and figure, we knew these classes had something to do with it. Naturally, we wanted to know more so we asked Brooke to share 6 things we need to know before taking our first Barre class.
You don’t need a background from the Australian Ballet
You don’t need to have ever done dance to come and enjoy my ballet barre class at The Well, Bondi. We start will a warm up on the mat and move into some killer strengthening exercises. Finally, we get on the barre for a sequence of traditional ballet exercises catered to whichever level of class I am teaching at the time.
If you are considering taking up barre but are concerned that you may have two left feet or aren’t flexible enough, you need not worry. Although barre classes take from some traditional ballet movements, they aren’t like a traditional dance class.
It’s a full body exercise
You will feel every single muscle in your body working, however, you won’t be relying on a cardio workout. Using tools like a ball, strap, and some light weights, these classes are about strengthening and lengthening. You will usually be working out multiple muscle groups at a time, focusing on repetitive movements, balance and coordination. We also incorporate a lot of isometric movements, which will help you target smaller and usually neglected muscle groups.
During your first class you may be thinking, ‘that was fun and relatively easy’ but your abs and muscles will do the talking the next day. Once you have gotten over the initial shock of struggling to walk down the stairs, you will be addicted and back for more. Trust me.
It’s a great exercise for new mums
Barre is a great exercise to get into postpartum. Being low impact, it makes it a great option for those looking to get back into exercise. It is also the best kind of exercise for strengthening your core. It targets muscles not usually activated with traditional forms of exercise such as planks and crunches.
I have had so many women (especially post child labour) keen to work on their core strength and posture. They are amazed at the results that come from ballet barre without having to do high-intensity exercises.
You will be transported back to simpler times…
There seems to be something about that little girl’s dream of becoming a ballerina that sparks real joy in people. Many women come to my barre class and are reminded of dancing at a young age. It seems to generate a feeling of youth and those simpler times.
You truly get a full workout for both your body and mind. Each class is built on the notion of working hard but having fun. My rule is to leave your ego at the door and be able to have a laugh.
You will walk taller … like a Ballerina
Barre classes not only focus on helping you build a solid core but they also work to lengthen your key muscle groups. Focusing on areas such as your inner thighs, hamstrings, bum, waits, back and arm muscles, barre classes use traditional ballet movements to elongate and increase range of movement.. While you don’t have to be flexible to take the classes, you will be sure to be walking taller in next to no time if you commit to your classes.
The stretching during my classes is broken up with strengthening exercises which both work well together to help improve flexibility.
You will feel feminine…
The biggest surprise and reward I have taken away from teaching barre is that sometimes women just want to feel feminine and elegant. With so many women pushing boundaries and killing it in the corporate world, going up against men to shatter glass ceilings, outside of work they just want to be taken away from their daily routine. There is something really lovely about barre offering women an opportunity to feel both powerful and feminine at the same time.