Halloween is around the corner and that means we are embracing all things creepy – much like this video. Javier Peréz mixes sculpture, performance and video in his latest piece. He takes a ballerina, Amélia Ségarra, places her in knife-led pointe shoes, and proceeds to have her dance atop a grand piano. Trying to stay balanced, Ségarra scrapes and digs the knife points into the piano creating a bone chilling soundtrack.
While ballet is usually viewed as delicate and beautiful, Perez uses it to display contradictions of human nature: fragility//strength, life//death, beauty//violence. The balancing act between them — as emulated by Amélia — at times can be beautiful, if not simultaneously agonizing and ruthless. The three minute short film makes you anxious, nervous, and enthralled every second.
In Los Angeles, we are constantly surrounded by options. Where to live, eat, shop, and even workout. At the moment, barre classes are on the rise claiming to firm, tone and slim your body at record speed. You want to try one, but with so many options, how do you choose? Being a dancer, who has worked years and years achieving my shape, I had to find out what these classes were all about. So here’s some insight into four of the most popular barre classes on trend right now to help decide which is best for you.
The Bar Method, Pure Barre, and Pop Physique are all barre classes with a similar structure. Warm up into upper body, lower body into abs and then a final stretch. The only class that does not follow this exact pattern is Cardiobarre. The most important thing to remember in every one of these classes is form, alignment and technique. They are low impact work outs with body parts sometimes only moving about an inch. These ballet inspired classes are designed to elongate the muscles and sculpt the body into a dancer’s physique. All classes use of course, the ballet barre, as well as free weights.
So what sets these classes apart? Here’s the scoop. The Bar Method, a technique fusing dance conditioning, isometrics and the science of physical therapy, is a slower paced class that’s easy on the joints. But don’t be fooled, you will encounter lots of burning and shaking during what feels like a million reps executed at the barre. Pure Barre, another isometrics focused technique that includes elements of pilates, has great hands on instructors and moves at a slightly faster pace to upbeat music. Pop Physique, a fairly new exercise, is a ballet inspired isometrics class that starts kicking your butt within minutes. They also have an assortment of really great music. I mean, who doesn’t want to do ab work to hip hop? And lastly, one of the most unique of the barre classes, Cardiobarre truly integrates ballet with continual motion. A fast paced, low impact, full-body work out that not only strengthens and lengthens the muscles, but also burns fat.
No matter which one of these classes you choose, you are sure to get a body sculpting workout that is still safe on your joints and muscles. Don’t be ashamed to make unpleasant faces or minor grunts at any point because you will certainly, “feel the burn”. Be good to your body and take some extra time with stretching or a hot bath after class, as soreness tends to be prominent the next day. And now you know, you don’t have to be a ballerina to get their slim, toned bodies!
text + model Sarah Rodenhouse
photo Kelly Mustapha