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It’s been a long time since I put on a leotard, but today I considered dusting it off to see if it would fit on one of my legs. Why the hell would I do that? Because I just took the barre class at FirstHealth Fitness.

I showed up to the class expecting the barre format that is now a popular form of exercise, but was quickly confused when the class was being held in the large group exercise space. Then I looked down and noticed the instructor was wearing ballet shoes — legit, flexible strap, old-school throwback ballet shoes.

Thankfully, I actually remembered to wear socks today. Thankfully, I am a former ballerina, who racked up tons of experience in preschool. Even more thankfully, she said the class was about “what you feel, not what you look like.”

My dance partners and I were then instructed to grab weights. Weights? They were small, circular weights, 2.5’s, and I honestly figured we’d be using them to slide our foot on the floor or something because never had I heard of lifting in ballet. 

Les mills barre,” the instructor explained, was more of a ballet class and we should be excited, not intimidated, to try something new.  As in regular Les Mills format classes, the music guides the motions, which are typically easy to follow.  

We started with simple plies, plie, squats, and leg lifts.  Despite the fact that I operate as a 24/7 bull-in-a-china-shop hot mess, I tried to just let go and be graceful.

The typical ballet movements were incorporated, as were stretches and squats. The ballerina bod is achieved by a lot more than dance — you utilize small movements to really get your muscles burning fast. Movements incorporated many of the target areas I like to work on my body: Inner thighs, glutes, arms, core.  

The class was comprised of three dance songs with ballet movements; two cardio tracks which really lifted your heart rate; and two weight tracks that were targeted and challenging. In about 35 minutes, it was all over.

I immediately high-fived the man who had joined us for the class, Sammie, and told him how awesome he did. “I can’t believe how much I am sweating!” he said. “That was really different, and hard, but awesome!”

Moral of the story? Get thee to the dance class. It is offered four times a week: Mondays at 10:30 a.m., Tuesdays at 9:15 a.m., Fridays at 9:30 a.m., and some Saturdays at 9 a.m.

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