I’ve been teaching barre for two years now – my two year anniversary was last week! – and I love it even more today than I did on day one. Teaching barre has inspired me in more ways than I can count. Because of barre, I fell in love with fitness, got my personal training certification, and found a passion for working with people I didn’t know I had.
If you have taken a barre class, you have probably wanted to off the instructor at some point. I was ready to take down Hanna in the lunchtime class yesterday, and she’s one of my best friends. I’ve seen a lot of grimaces and dirty looks in my two years of teaching, usually from the same students who come up to me after class and tell me it was a great workout.
We get it. Barre is hard. I’ll argue that the hardest part is showing up, especially when the weather is nice and there are fifty other things you could be doing. That said, there are things your instructor sees or does before, during, and after class that might surprise you. I can think of at least six things your barre instructor may not tell you, but that any avid barre goer might find interesting.
We feel it too.
We see you shaking and quaking. We see your grimaces and frowns. Despite the upbeat attitudes and smiles from your instructor, we’re feeling it, too. Our shoulders are screaming right along with yours during arms and our thighs and glutes are quivering, too. You may have heard someone say “it doesn’t get easier” in regards to barre. Your instructor can absolutely confirm that.
We celebrate your achievements.
You held chair for the entire thigh set for the first time. You’re pretty damn proud of yourself, but don’t think anyone noticed. We did. We’ve seen you working hard day in and day out. We’ve seen the incremental improvements each class that you may not have seen yourself. When you reach a goal, we celebrate you too.
We don’t listen to music the same way.
A lot of time goes into building playlists. I haven’t listened to a song without counting beats and categorizing it into “thighs”, “glutes”, or “stretch” in ages. We also get really pumped about remixes. How many ways can you hear “Closer” without getting bored of it? I’ve got at least four remixes in rotation…
We change it up on the fly.
We have a plan going into class. We know what sets we’re going to do, what equipment we want to incorporate, and what variations we’re going to progress through. If we note that the class is, say, made up of mostly newcomers, we might back off some of the more challenging sets and focus on form. More advanced students? We’ll level up and challenge them. We want every single person in the studio to get their best workout. Sometimes that means giving up on our resistance band dreams, at least for one class.
We really can count.
It’s an ongoing joke that barre instructors can’t count. We say “Final 8!” and count to 10 or else we start counting down from 10, get distracted (so it seems), and 20 counts later, cue the last 10, one more time. That “squirrel” moment when we stopped counting at 7? We were correcting a student who waved us over. That final 8 that wasn’t actually the final 8? We got off beat and we trying to find it again. We really can count – at least to 10! – I promise.
We want you to ask questions.
Have a question about a move we did in class? Ask us! We love when students ask questions. Maybe you didn’t feel your glutes firing or maybe c-curve just makes no sense to you. Grab us before or after class and let’s chat about it. Our goal is for you to do the moves safely and effectively. Fire away with those questions.
Got questions about what’s it’s like to be a barre instructor or about barre in general? Leave them in the comments!
And if you’re in Charlottesville or the surrounding area, come take a barre class with me at barre.[d] studio!