Have you ever wanted to train like a ballerina? Well, with barre fitness, you can.
Okay before anyone comes at us with pitchforks and pointe shoes, we know that this “barre” workout doesn’t exactly exemplify what ballerinas actually do.
While barre does take inspiration from ballet, it also incorporates Pilates, yoga, and strength training, and no, you won’t actually learn any ballet techniques.
That said, taking a class at Rebarre might just be as close as I’m going to get to being a ballerina.
We first wrote about Rebarre in June last year. Opened by Carmen, who trained as a ballet dancer for 15 years, Rebarre is a fitness studio in Bangsar. While not the only one to offer barre in Malaysia, Rebarre looked to be the first studio that seemed to prioritise it. It’s in the name, after all.
Last year, its founder Carmen had invited us for a class, which we admittedly put off for a few good months.
But in the spirit of the new year, we decided to make good on her offer and take on a new fitness challenge.
Entering Rebarre’s first-floor space on Jalan Telawi on a Saturday morning, we were met with a busy stream of students from the class prior to ours. After checking in with the receptionist, we did a quick little self-guided tour around the area.
There are two separate studios in the space. One appeared to be hosting a one-on-one class during our visit.
As for amenities, there’s a wall of lockers where students can put away their bags before class. Next to this is a vanity area for any makeup reapplication or touch-up purposes. We noticed there was a hair dryer as well as a small drawer with cotton pads and buds, which was a nice touch.
There aren’t any showers, but there’s a spacious changing room and toilets. Hydration is critical when working out, so it’s nice that Rebarre has a water cooler available too.
Soon, we were informed by a staff member that we could head inside the studio—it was time for us to start our class.
Inside the studio, a variety of equipment were shelved next to the door, namely foam blocks, resistance bands, ankle weights, and small Pilates balls. For our session, we used everything save for the blocks.
There were also yoga mats already placed on the floor to indicate the “spots” in the class.
Unlike your usual yoga or Pilates studio, something that stands out in this room is, of course, the barres along the wall, which are typically used by ballerinas for stability and balance when training.
Our instructor for the day was Allisha, who teaches Barre Signature (the class we were enrolled for), as well as the Core & Sculpt class.
Rebarre describes Barre Signature as an “exhilarating workout” inspired by ballet, yoga, Pilates, and strength training. We later learnt that the Signature’s difficulty is considered intermediate and advanced level, which is honestly quite a feat for us first-timers.
Having seen pictures from the classes before, we showed up with our feet nicely socked. The bad news is that the experience was like a slip-and-slide without grippy socks. The good news is that they sell grippy socks outside. (I wonder, in hindsight, if I should’ve just taken off my socks…)
Thankfully, we started at our own individual mats, so grippiness is not of a concern here. We worked on arms first, then we moved to legs, then eventually the most exciting part of it all—the barre.
Pushing past the slipperiness, the barre portion was probably the most fun for me. It evoked a sense of childlike wonder, hanging onto the barre, and imitating the feet of ballerinas while attempting to plie.
It was very challenging, though, don’t get me wrong. A lot of shaking and huffing was involved, but we did it all with a smile (or an incredulous laugh).
After the barre portion, it was back to the mat. We did a couple more exercises before finally cooling down with a few stretches.
Something to note is that from my vantage point on the mat, because of the way the mirrors are individually placed, I wasn’t able to see the instructor’s reflection. Perhaps wall-to-wall mirrors would help with this, though I will admit the individual curved mirrors are, aesthetically, on pointe (pun intended).
Overall, the workout was pretty simple in the sense that the poses aren’t hard. But, done to pop music in the background, the experience was nothing if not fast. Expect rapid, intense, and burning reps. The word “pulse” was repeated multiple times.
Throughout the class, I had to slow down many, many times, or just fully take a few seconds’ break. At one point, I even left the room to get my water, which I left in my bag. It definitely wasn’t just an excuse to take a break.
My fellow writer Sabrina, who said the experience wasn’t too strenuous or difficult, wasn’t all too sore the next day. But our videographer Fad and I both reported some pretty notable aches and pains—in a good way, of course.
My, uh, gluteus maximus as well as my triceps both ended up very sore the next day (and the day after). These are parts of my body that I typically don’t utilise as much, so it was interesting that the barre class engaged those muscles.
The soreness was mostly in the legs for Fad. She said, and I quote, “Like I can go up stairs, but going down? Nah, I need a wheelchair.”
I would say that I felt like I didn’t really engage my core during this workout, but that could be due to poor or wrong technique. (Forgive me, I was too focused on surviving to think about proper form.)
In any case, the general consensus from us, is that we’re very willing to try it again. In fact, Sabrina, Fad, and I all separately considered signing up for it.
I think the reason why we enjoyed the class was because of the challenging, yet fun and friendly experience.
Personally, as more of a homebody and introvert, classes like these can be intimidating because I’m worried about looking weak or struggling to keep up.
But throughout our Barre Signature class, Allisha continually encouraged us to listen to our bodies. If we needed to take a break, we could without being shamed for resting while everyone else was pushing themselves.
Whenever my legs shook, she would remind us that shaking is good. Get you a hype woman like Allisha.
For those on the fence still, Rebarre offers trial packages, so if you’re looking for something new to challenge this year, this one’s for you.