Barre rhymes with "car." The class is inspired by the first segment of a Ballet class, which is traditionally done with the help of a horizontal barre for balance assistance. In our barre class, we do a lot of traditional ballet warm-up moves, and we add elements from Pilates and Yoga. It is not really a dance class, but the focus is on building core strength and endurance. We do a lot very small movements with lots of repetition and emphasis on form. You will really feel the "inner earthquake" as you push your muscles to the edge of endurance.
Dancers have used this style of training for hundreds of years to build long, lean, flexible muscles and improve balance.
One characteristic of a barre class is that if you were sitting and watching someone else do it, it might look like they weren't doing a whole lot. Until you tried it and felt it yourself!
Barre is low-impact, although sometimes I might offer an option to include a small jump--but that is always just an option that you can take or leave.
People often ask what shoes and equipment they need for barre. You don't need any shoes. Bare feet are fine, but it might be a little cold in the beginning of class, so sometimes people start off with socks or even ballet shoes (not required). Regular workout clothes like yoga pants/leggings/sweats, and a tank top or T-shirt are great. We might do a downward dog or two, so you'll want to choose tops that don't fall over your head in that position. In the winter months, layers are a good idea.
You don't need any kind of ballet or other dance experience to take a barre class, but I will often tell people, "If you are a dancer and you want to make this move more awesome, you go right ahead." If you were to take barre for a while and then decided to try a regular ballet class, you would find that you have the foundational elements that make dancing easier, like strong feet and legs, muscular endurance, energy in the upper arms, and core stability.
Jay shared a video with me that does a pretty good job of explaining a barre workout. And although our barre classes tend to be majority female, we'd love to have more guys. http://www.businessinsider.com/regular-guy-barre-class-workout-fitness-ballet-2016-10