With a combination of grace and challenge, Vancouver's best barre classes offer workouts for all
Combining the grace and precision of ballet with the resistance work of weight training, barre's low-impact technique combines the best of all workout worlds. Barre classes are now everywhere with dedicated studios and gym classes scheduled morning to night. They might all seem the same, but there are definitely differences to capture a variety of clients: the lunch hour express, the laid-back approach, the purist and so many more. There's one for everyone, depending on your goals and workout style. The comments below reflect that studio's basic, introductory class.
In no particular order, here are 10 of the best barre classes offered in Vancouver...
1. Pure Barre
Pure BarreClasses at Pure Barre focus on small isometric movements with a fair amount of balletic gestures incorporated. However, this is not a class that will make you sweat. Energy is high and the atmosphere is fun. Best for those who need their workouts to be fun and social.
Various locations; Cost: $25 for a single class
2. Robert Lee YMCA
Twitter/Robert Lee YMCAThe 45-minute classes at this downtown YMCA are scheduled at noon and the end of the workday, targeting the working downtown crowd. Classes take place in a large gym with portable barres, limiting what can be done there. Instructors are volunteers, so be kind with their mispronunciations or incorrect usage of classical ballet terms. No corrections are given. Free weights, resistance bands and mat work are often incorporated. Best for those looking for a moderately engaged, general movement class. Some ballet background would be helpful to get the most of skeletal directions. You'll need to budget extra time at the beginning to help set up the gym with the barres and to gather any additional props and, likewise, at the end to return everything to the storage room.
955 Burrard Street, Vancouver; Cost: $15 for a single class, with memberships available
3. Body Balance
Body Balance VancouverThe 45-minute classes offered at Body Balance are designed to give clients an express, focused, full-body workout. The barre here is used more as a prop; there are minimum ballet-inspired movements. However, classes are challenging and still do focus on developing long, lean muscles through small, precise movements but is closer to a Pilates-inspired workout. Cues and corrections are given. Best for those looking for an efficient full-body workout. This really is an efficient set-up, allowing clients quick entry and exit. The studio is street level, all equipment is laid out at the barre when you arrive.
555 Howe Street, Vancouver; Cost: $25 for a single class, with packages available
4. Steve Nash
Facebook/Steve Nash Fitness Clubs"Le Barre" at Steve Nash was developed in collaboration and consultation with principal dancers at Ballet BC. It is a single, multi-level class, meaning every class will differ depending on the overall ability and interest of the participants. Corrections are not given and the pace is extremely casual. Bring layers, as you're likely to get cold in between exercises. Best for those curious about barre and looking for an approachable, minimally challenging introduction.
Various locations; Cost: $20 for a single class, with memberships available
Equinox VancouverExactly what you'd expect from Equinox, "Trilogy Barre" is an intense and athletic barre class, meaning you're going to sweat. They've created this program based on the tradition and skills of classical ballet, but evolved the format to the point where the barre is used only as a prop, so there are actually no balletic movements in this class at all. Using a proprietary resistance band system, the class focuses on resistance work done against the wall-mounted triple barre. General tips and corrections are given to the class. Best for those looking for an intense, muscle-quivering workout.
1131 West Georgia Street, Vancouver; Cost: Membership access only, $176 per month plus initiation fee
6. Harbour Dance Centre
Harbour DanceIf you really want to look like a ballet dancer and move like a ballet dancer, take a ballet class at Harbour Dance. Standards are high here - this is where the pros come - but absolutely everyone is welcome. Just be prepared for the discipline that comes with a proper ballet studio and, when in doubt, follow the person in front of you. The atmosphere is inclusive, and at times jovial, but mostly extremely focused. Best for purists who love ballet and truly want to understand how dance is created, plié by plié. This is for those who are as equally creatively as they are technically inclined. Athleticism will develop naturally but is not an initial focus. Lots of corrections will be given - proper technique is king.
927 Granville Street, Vancouver; Cost: $16 for a single one hour class or $19 for a single 90 minute class, with packages available
7. Ballet Lounge
Ballet LoungeBallet Lounge is a fitness-inspired adult ballet studio, providing high-energy traditional ballet classes taught to house music. The format follows that of a classical ballet class: barre work (real barre work), centre work for adage (slow movements) and jumps, followed by a warm down. While classes do focus on proper technique (with corrections given) the atmosphere is decidedly relaxed and fun. Best for those either interested in traditional ballet or coming from a classical ballet background and looking to polish their technique.
1340 Granville Street, Vancouver; Cost: $15 for a single 30 minute class, $24 for a single 45 to 60 minute class or $30 for a single 90 minute class, with packages available
8. Bar Method
Facebook/Bar MethodAt Bar Method, instructors receive six months of training before teaching and address all students by first name. Most of the class is done at the barre, although mat work and free weights are also incorporated. Focus is on small, precise movements and instructors provide corrections to ensure proper technique. There is a definite Bar Method syllabus used, so classes are consistent regardless of instructor. Best for those serious about finding a community of Type A (in the best sense) workout buddies intent on going on a regular basis.
Various locations; Cost: $28 for a single class with packages available
9. The Dailey Method
The Dailey MethodAlready a cult hit based out of San Francisco, the Dailey Method has established a loyal Vancouver following in a short amount of time. It offers eight different styles of barre, including a cycle barre that combines 40 minutes of cycle with 20 minutes of barre. There's enough variety so clients can find just the right fit. Classes are fast paced with an emphasis on alignment. Hands-on corrections are provided. Best for those looking for a classic barre class that offers variety in progression and styles (to help prevent plateaus).
Various locations; Cost: $24 for a single class, with packages available
10. Barre Fitness
Barre FitnessClasses at Barre Fitness are fast paced with high energy. They will differ depending on who's teaching so do a little research beforehand. All instructors are certified fitness professionals but not many corrections are provided. Best for those who have experience with barre classes and can self-correct. Also great for those needing variety in their workouts.
Various locations; Cost: $22 for a single class, with packages available