I’ve been participating with my Sweat Pink community this week on challenge sponsored by FitApproach and prAna and Thursday’s challenge question was when was a time you were stretched out of your comfort zone. Well, I tried to post this Thursday and it never posted (thanks, work when you feel like it wi-fi) which gave me even more time to think about how uncomfortable it is going to present something new that you’ve never taught that was out of your comfort zone to a group of people who’ve never taken it.
Even as a dancer, I’m stretched out of my comfort zone ANY time someone says the words “ballet,” “barre” and “Tasha” in the same sentence.
I will tell ANYONE that I’m not a classically trained dancer. I never even took classes outside of school until I was twenty five. I never learned rond de jambe and glissade until I went to college. Personally, I didn’t care much for it. I’m a free spirit. I want to dance and have a good time. Ballet required WAY too much structure for girls with certain types of bodies. That alone just eliminated me.
But then I ran into my friend and fellow fitness instructor/presenter Jenn Hall (if you don’t know her, you should MOST DEFINITELY look her up!) at the IDEA World Conference three years and she invited me to take her new class, LeBarre. I loved Jenn and had taken a certification from her before in something else so I changed my schedule, much to my inner resistance, and headed into her class, in the back, expecting to feel like I had always felt in ballet…..……a failure.
I didn’t expect to feel free.
But I did.
Here’s the thing: when you are an instructor and a presenter, you automatically tell yourself that you should get it right the first time. I was ALREADY in my head about what I thought would be “ballet” (I knww Jenn had an EXTENSIVE background as a dancer and I didn’t expect the class to be like any of the other barre classes I had attended….and didn’t like) and then I felt awkward because I was so busy trying to get it “right” that the simplicity of the entire thing flew over my head. When it was over and I realized I had done it, I was like, “Wow, that great.”
And it’s hard, for all of us, in a different way that challenge everyone at their own level. HOLY SQUATS!!!!!!
LeBarre (Balance, Agility. Resistance, working Recovery, and Eloquence) was born out of necessity just the the Lebert Fitness equalizer which we use in class. The equalizer isn’t the same height as a regular barre or even attached to the wall…for a reason. If you’ve ever taken a ballet class you know people hold on to that barre like their life depends on it. LeBarre is set up to help people with their balance and strength, not their dependence. 🙂 I found myself almost tearing up my back in an effort to lean for that barre when it wasn’t made for that. It was definitely an awareness that I needed and it made me stronger.
As for believing I’d be unsuccessful because of my lack of ballet skills, well, I found LeBarre easy to follow as the flow of the instruction is basic. I think we have gotten WAY too complicated with our classes. We give five thousand instructions before people have moved one time. People need to become aware of where their body is in space, even those of us who have been moving for a while. I found myself not needing to overthink and, because of that I was able to work deeper into basic movements like my squats and lunges. Jenn never used the word “echappe.” (Thank God. Those things hurt my achilles.) We actually use very little ballet terminology in the class at all. It’s not a dance class. It definitely has some ballet influence but that’s about it. No pink tights required.
I got my LeBarre certification shortly (like two weeks) after taking Jenn‘s class at IDEA in 2012. The idea of barre classes was just picking up in the area and no one wanted to buy “extra” equipment. Since then, gyms and fitness centers everywhere have been installing barres and there are tons of barre certifications available. I STILL stand by LeBarre. The equipment (I believe) is worth the investment because you can do SO many things with them (Lebert Fitness offers certifications in LeBoot and LeHIIT) and they are super inexpensive for what other things costs. I believed in the product and the class so much that while I was laid up in a cast last year, I emailed Marc Lebert from the couch and told him my goal was to become one of his master trainers.
This past February, I did just that.
I love LeBarre and starting Tuesday, I’m FINALLY bringing it to Huntsville. If you see me dragging around all of these multi colored equalizers (get a discount on your own pair at the Lebert Fitness website by using my code ‘TASHA20“) then you know I’m headed to get my “pointe, plie, pushup” on.
It’s time to change the way we think about barre. It’s time to be inclusive and welcome EVERYONE, all body types, all backgrounds (Jenn started by teaching this class to football players at Georgia State. True story.), all ages and all fitness levels.
See you at the barre!