A childhood of ballet classes, complete with Royal Academy of Dance certificates, has left me with strange delusions about my abilities as a dancer. Every time I go to a barre class I assume that I'm going to be just great at it, totally forgetting that running has screwed my body over leaving me with the flexibility of a pensioner.
My hip flexors do not live up to their name.
Overlaying my ballerina delusions are fitness delusions. Being able to run a really long way can give you warped ideas about your body. I have to keep reminding myself that while I have great cardio fitness my strength needs a little work. As does my balance. My balance isn't great.
Together, these failing mean I'm pretty entertaining in any class that demands strength and flexibility. Which is probably a sign I need to go to more classes that demand strength and flexibility. Which is why an invite to try out Xtend Barre with Active in Style wasn't going to be something I'd turn down.
Xtend Barre fuses elements of dance, ballet and Pilates (or pirates, if you want to believe my autocorrect) that strengthens, lengthens and chisels your body. Oh and it leaves you a sweaty mess sprawled on a mat at the end of the class, which is the perfect way to end a class if you ask me.
Each class features an elegant (unless you're me, then the vibe is a little more baby elephant) yet energetic combination of moves that challenge your core and helps develop a long, lean physique.
One of the things I love about Barre is that it's so inclusive. These classes really are for everyone, no matter what your fitness level is. They're a great option if you're looking to start getting fit, or if your recovering from injury, as well as being challenging enough for even the fittest out there. Throughout our Xtend Barre class the teacher included modifications as standard so it was easy to adapt according to feel. She also paid lots of attention to us individually, making sure we were doing each move correctly. I've been in classes before where the teacher hasn't done any corrections, and that bothers me, I mean I'm good, but I can't be perfect all the time!
one to two classes a day, typically at lunchtime or in the evening.
16 Balderton Street, London W1K 6NT
Xtend Barre is currently in a temporary home at Dance Works Studios (like travelling back in time to ballet school) but their building a flagship studio that'll open this summer.
A drop in class is £25, but you get your first class for free and there are various offers
when you buy multiple classes.
what to wear
Your stretchiest workout gear.
A tough, sweaty class that left me aching for several days!
*Thanks to Active in Style for hosting this great event and sending me pictures! note, this wasn't a press event, Active in Style emailed everyone on their mailing list, which I thought was nice!*