An interview with Barre Brisbane creator Ash Daniec

Ballerina from Barre Brisbane poses

We all know A-list models and celebs love their Barre classes, some of your favourite Victoria Secret Angels even credit the workout for their bombshell bodies! The workout - which is a fusion of yoga, Pilates and ballet conditioning exercises – is becoming more popular in Brisbane, with the West End Studio of Barre Brisbane opening in March.

We chatted with Barre Brisbane Director Ash Daniec to find out exactly why this exercise is so popular.

What does a Barre Brisbane class involve?

AD: Barre Brisbane classes use a combination of postures inspired by ballet and other disciplines like yoga and pilates. The barre is used as a prop to balance while doing exercises that focus on isometric strength training (holding your body still while you contract a specific set of muscles) combined with high reps of small range-of-motion movements.

Don’t be surprised if your class incorporates light weights to ‘bring the burn’ during all those reps, as well as mats for targeted core work.

What motivated you to open up a barre studio in Brisbane?

AD: My partner travels a lot for work and I had been lucky enough to travel with him to places like New York, LA, Sydney and Melbourne. Whilst he was working during the day I had a lot of free time and I stumbled across barre.

I fell head over heels for this workout, I could relive my childhood dream of being a ballet dancer (well pretend to be anyway) and I was shocked when I struggled to find a barre studio in Brisbane. One thing led to another and BOOM Barre Brisbane was created.

What are some of the benefits of this workout and how quickly can our readers expect to see results?

AD: Barre can visibly transform your body [by] sculpting and strengthening your muscles and targeting troubled spots with a fun approach to toning your arms, stomach, hips, thighs and butt. I recommend attending 4-5 classes a week and you should start to see a change in your body within a fortnight.

What type of music do you play during a barre class?

AD: Our classes are very music based. Ideally at the start of the class the music should motivate and empower you to feel stronger and work harder. We play songs that are “charting now” and have a high bpm. During the end of the class we usually listen to an old school/ classic/ acoustic cover to wind down into our relaxation.

Barre Brisbane stretching

How does the aesthetic of the space influence mindfulness during classes?

AD: The aesthetic is very important to me as I feel it’s a place people come to let go and relax. White walls, timber flooring and white linen curtains create a blank canvas for the mind to reboot. We don’t have mirrors in the studio as we really are trying to encourage the mind body connection.

Can you tell us about the various types of classes offered at Barre Brisbane?

AD: Barre Classic is predominately at the barre finished with some floor work on a mat. This class is great for beginners through to intermediate.

Barre Stretch is great to do after a Barre Classic class or great for runners or athletes. I discuss with the class if they have any concerns or tight areas. The class has a barre warm up, 6 stretches holding for 5 mins in each stretch and a relaxation. The lights a dimmed and we play really relaxing music.

Barre Cardio is very upbeat a lot more leg work at a faster pace, which is really good if you want to get your heart rate pumping.

Barre Endurance is perfect for toning and core strengthening. We use weights and resistance – increasing the intensity of eachposition.

Do you think barre is the new fitness trend for 2016?

AD: Barre has actually been around for quite a number of years – I do think there is a bit of hype in Brisbane at the moment as various studios are opening up but it has been around for quite some time.

What advice do you have for our readers who might be nervous about trying barre for the first time?

AD: We don’t take ourselves too seriously at Barre Brisbane. If you want to exercise and have a fun time doing it, our barre community if perfect for you.

Following the West End studio opening, do you have any exciting plans for the year ahead?

AD: Yes, hopefully by the end of the year we would like to start Barre Brisbane Retreats to places like Byron, Sunshine Coast and overseas places like Bali, Thailand and NZ.

Follow Barre Brisbane on Facebook and Instagram.

Words: Frances van Eeden