What is Barre? The History of Barre

Barre is an intense, fast-paced, energetic Pilates class designed to get your heart pumping! The class works several muscle groups, is a lot of fun, and is great for weight loss, increasing fitness and creating lean, long muscles without ‘bulking’. You will feel invigorated after one of our unique Barre classes. Barre is not for the Pilates beginner; we suggest you first begin with our regular Pilates classes.

Where did Barre begin?

Famous German dancer Lotte Berk created the barre method over 50 years ago. Lotte was recovering from injury so mixed her ballet training with physical therapy, developing her unique practice which she called barre.

Lotte opened the Lotte Berk Method on Manchester Street in London in 1959 where she taught students her novel new fitness practice.

Lydia Bach, one of Lotte’s students, introduced the method to the US in 1971 opening the Lotte Berk Method in Manhattan,

Elisabeth Halfpapp was running the Lotte Berk Method studio on the Upper East Side when one of her longtime students approached her with an offer to, along with Lis’ husband Fred DeVito, found a new studio. This new space would become Exhale, a barre and yoga studio mixed with a spa.

Often dubbed the founders of the modern barre movement, Lis and Fred’s respective backgrounds in professional ballet and sport have made them uniquely equipped to lead barre classes and teacher training courses.

New York, New York

When Michelle, founder and operator of Essence of Living, wanted to bring barre into her studio she sought out the best teachers to teach her. These teachers were Elisabeth and Fred. So, Michelle made her way to New York where she completed her teacher training.

Now years later, Essence of Living is well-known for high energy and fun barre classes taught by vibrant and energetic teachers. Check out our schedule here.

Michelle also trains new barre teachers through the Essence of Living Academy. You can find out more about all of our teacher training courses here.