Participants in this Bayside YMCA class switch back and forth between the mats and the ballet barre. The instructor moves among them, demonstrating proper form and offering tips and encouragement while upbeat music fills the room.
The class is Barre Transformations – a new one offered at the Bayside Y.
New to the local fitness scene, Barre method classes are hugely popular in New York, Boston and other cities, according to instructor Heather Martinez.
“This is a great class for anyone who wants quick results,” Martinez said.
Barre classes combine Pilates techniques, weights, floor exercise and the ballet barre. It is touted as increasing flexibility as well as developing long, lean muscles.
Martinez is a certified Pilates instructor and a classically-trained ballet dancer. She got her start at Festival Ballet in Providence, where she met her husband Eivar, also a dancer. Together they spent many years touring the country with professional companies, eventually settling back in Rhode Island after their son was born.
Eivar still dances professionally, and Heather does some freelancing – she occasionally performs with a dance school, or joins Festival Ballet during Nutcracker season – but she has mostly settled into her role as a mom.
One of the great benefits of Barre Transformations, said Martinez, is that anyone can do it.
“You can modify the positions, much like yoga,” she said.
Martinez said it is definitely something men would benefit from, although it is mostly women who are signing up.
“People have been coming in out of curiosity,” Martinez said. “They have heard about it from someone, and they want to give it a try.”
Classes are offered on Mondays at 9 am and Wednesdays at 5:30 pm. They are open to Bayside YMCA members and non-members.
Contact Coordinator Vickie Talley at email@example.com or 245-2444 for more information.
-- Kim Stowell, Bayside YMCA