I can hear the loud beats and laughter of the previous class finishing up. I’m waiting in the foyer of Brisbane’s Dance Bare studio, read to try my first EVER full-body dance-incorporated barre workout.
I turn to the girl next to me. “Have you been to a class here before?”
“Yes,” she says, happily. “And I couldn’t walk for two days after!”
Maybe that should have scared me off but her ecstatic smile and the fact that she’s come back for more just makes me even more eager to kick some major barre butt.
When it comes to working out, I’m up for pretty much everything. Even if “anything” means being terrified, looking completely uncoordinated or dealing with the dreaded after-burn.
Suddenly, the door swings open. It’s time.
CLASS 1: Full Body Tone/Method
I’m not much of a dancer (at least not in front of other people), but the classes at Dance Barre are for all levels of fitness and dancing abilities and levels, so I figure I’ll either be able to keep up or laugh it off.
I find my spot in front of the floor-to-ceiling mirror and the class is greeted by the smiling, gorgeous and enthusiastic owner and trainer Katie Dickens. Cue This is What We Came For by Calvin Harris and Rihanna. The class combines dance fitness, Pilates and some core mat work in a short 30-minute session.
Katie has a great way of keeping the class motivated and in high spirits, even as we fumble through tricky or tiring poses.
One of her mottos is “Feel the burn and just keep going!” I take her advice to heart and even when it feels like my body may give out altogether, I push through with the rest of the class for one more squat, leg extension and arm life. It sort of feels more like a party than a workout… until afterwards. Now I know what the girl meant about not being able to walk.
CLASS 2: Booty Method
I take a few days off to let my legs recover and in the meantime I convince the rest of the Style team that they need to experience this as well. We sign up for a more specific target-zone class offered by the studio: a bootylicious workout.
Surprisingly, it’s not 30 minutes of straight twerking. In fact, there’s no twerking at all. This is a routine performed on mats and for a moment I feel triumphant. If I could make my way through the dance workout, this should be a piece of cake. WRONG. I’ve underestimated the burn that you can feel from mat work. I may be lying down but I am working a LOT.
Looking around the room I notice the legging-clad crowd holding their glutes, hamstrings and legs to keep pushing through the moves. I’m no exception. Even though every muscle in my lower body is burning, I manage to keep going thanks to the cheery and cheeky words of encouragement from Katie.
Katie mentions in the class that if you want to improve and grow the size of your backside then you can start by coming to her booty classes two to three times a week and using ankle weights. I can’t even imagine adding ankle weights when I’m barely alive at the end of it, but Katie says she once had a bride-to-be add nearly six centimetres to her bottom with regular booty sessions over an eight-week period.
A photo posted by Dance Barre by Katie Dickens (@dancebarrebrisbane) on
I make sure to really stretch my legs and core after this session, but overall my booty feels fine the next day. Maybe even a bit more bootylicious already! That might just be wishful thinking, though.
CLASS 3: Ballet Bounce – level 1
This class is exactly what its name promises: a session in which you perform ballet-inspired moves on your own mini trampoline! This 30-minute session is actually equivalent to an hour and a half on a treadmill; trampoline exercises provide great low-impact, high intensity cardio sessions and boy do they work your core.
Like many of the classes at Dance Barre, the fun, excitement and high-energy always outweighs the overall effort, burn and fleeting thoughts of “I’m actually going to die.” When you’re slacking, Katie provides one-on-one help and encouragement. Her enthusiasm, involvement and inspiring approach to training makes the fun truly contagious. By the time the class is over, I’m seriously starting to question if she’s some kind of fitness goddess or if she’s secretly a robot who feels no pain.
Still, I waste no time taking up Dance Barre’s seven-day free trial offer. I’m ready to explore more of their instructor-based in-studio classes, live on-screen classes and online workshops. My body will thank me… eventually.
See you at the barre xx
Brisbane Dance Barre, Albion