Barre refers to a workout method which combines ballet inspired moves with pilates inspired exercises (think pulsing) and the result can be a killer workout. The idea is to obtain the physique of a ballerina without actually dancing. The rhythmic dance moves are cut away and you only need to care about toning and strengthening work on your muscles using ballet moves.
Since this hybrid workout is rather new without a patent, and posses no deeper meaning or history, people can develop their own version of barre workouts and brand it. Some examples are Xtend Barre, BarreAmped, BarreConcept, Figure4, Physique 57 (and there are really many more…). The owners of each brand chooses their own methods and they conduct their own teacher training for people to teach their method. New studios can either choose to adopt existing methods (eg. Xtend Barre, BarreAmped) – sending their teachers for training, or if the resources exists they could develop their own and brand it themselves (eg. Physique57).
Each of these methods can be vastly different and they may focus on very different things. Some are more like pilates – being strict about form and more focused on the muscles, some are more rhythmic and flowy like dance – caring more about the bigger movements. Different props can be used in class like weights, resistance bands, exercise balls etc.
Basically, the term “barre” is kind of vague since each studio can offer a very different sort of workout. It’s basically up to the studio to choose what they want to offer, since barre workout has no traditional method unlike yoga.
In Singapore, barre is still rather new with only a few studios around. In USA and Australia, it is very popular. In fact, the USA style and Australian styles of Barre are very different. From my basic experience from, I feel that USA style barre classes are more pilates like while Australian style barre classes are more rhythmic.
Personally, I would prefer a barre class to be more rythmnic with fast and bigger movements, rather than a class which nitpicks on my form (eg. back straight, knees a certain angle etc). I would rather attend a class to enjoy and have fun rather than one which feels like a killer session.
I have tried barre classes in 5 places and here’s my experience.
Workout: Xtend Barre
This was my very first barre class. Socks are compulsory. I did not like how they made socks compulsory because we had mats below us and we will not slip.
The class was quite fun with a good balance between ballet and pilates.
Drop in price: $40
36 Armenian St #02-03 Singapore 179934
321 Orchard Road #04-05, Orchard Shopping Centre, Singapore 238866
6A Shenton Way B1-01/02, OUE Downtown, Singapore 068815
Workout: Barre Method
This is an actual dance studio which offers fitness classes as a side thing. The barre class here was fun, rhythmic and use of weights are optional. I suppose the style is more Australian. I enjoyed my classes here but for those looking for something which kills you probably need to find something else.
Drop in price: $13 if you book with KFit
6 Shenton Way, #03-06/07 OUE Downtown Gallery, Singapore 06880
Workout: WeBarre (master trainer – Rachael Fraser)
This studio is made as a full fledged barre studio, unlike the above 2 which serves barre alongside other things. There are a few styles of classes here and they make it fun and relevant to what our locals like. Currently bootcamp/ HIIT workouts are in the trend and they have a class combining that with Barre. They also have regular barre classes like their Signature Multi Level which I first tried, and it was a balanced mix of strength and rhythmic works and they include a 5 minute HIIT section in the middle. This makes it quite a grilling workout – it’s a good thing if that is the sort of thing you like. For me, I’m a lazy blob so I prefer lower intensity classes. The Fundamentals class was perfect for me – do not be fooled by the name. It is not basic AT ALL. It is basically the same set of barre moves as the Signature class, except for no HIIT section in the middle. The intensity of the workout ultimately depends on the instructors – some are crazy while some are relaxed and slow. The content of the classes changes time to time and you will not know what props they will use from the section of free weights, pilates ball, gliding discs, resistance bands and resistance tubes. Best of all, no socks are required for class (but for WeBarre HIIT, you need to wear shoes)! I currently attend classes at WeBarre regularly and I can say that it did transform the small muscles of my body!
Drop in price: $38
86B Tanjong Pagar Road Singapore 088507
5A Stanley Street Singapore 068724
This studio came from Hong Kong to Singapore (and located in Hong Kong Street!) and served BarreAmped classes, a method from USA developed by a celebrity fitness trainer.
For their method, they will get you to hang here for 30s – 1 minute before and after class as your warm up.
The studio serves only barre classes, but they have bootcamp style barre classes as well. The class I took felt a lot more towards the pilates side with a lot of focus on form and using weights. It felt more like a focused workout caring about form, than a session to flow and have fun. For people who are very objective about their fitness (eg. you specifically want to work a muscle), this would be your thing.
I like that they use full sized Affirmats yoga mats here and socks are optional.
Side tracking, but Mylene takes really good pictures!
The changing room locker keys are so cute. I love this!
Drop in price: $33
42a Hongkong Street Singapore 059681
Workout: Barre Body (Australia)
I’m glad to see a new barre studio near my hood! The place is very modest and simple in furnishing but if you’re just after the workout it is fine. I tried the barre flow class and I like it because I like barre classes to be dynamic and moving rather than too much emphasis on the form. The dynamic moves were brutal but good. For someone who hasn’t worked out in like a year, this was intense cardio for me. The barre method is similar to WeBarre where they use the ball and weights. I would return if they have timings which suit me. What I did not personally like was that they do try to involve some yoga towards the end. If I wanted yoga I would do a yoga class specifically, so I prefer to see more ballet elements actually, but that’s just me.
Drop in price: $35
420 Joo Chiat Road #02-01 Singapore 427641