What’s a pulse-and-plie addict to do when she’s sweated through so many classes at her favorite Los Angeles barre studios that she hears their soundtracks in her dreams?
Thanks to a cache of new barre brands that have launched in LA over the past year, there are now plenty of fresh additions to the booty-chiseling scene. While some of these upstart options are serving neighborhoods once short on fitness studios—like the northernmost part of Hollywood and South Pasadena—others are betting on innovative twists on technique that could yield big changes to the barre game (pliés in a 105-degree room, anyone?).
So why can’t LA get enough of ballet-inspired workouts? “Barre changes your body,” says Marnie Alton, a 10-year veteran of the barre world (and one of the OG instructors at the Bar Method), who founded her own studio, Barre Belle, in late 2014. It’s also a workout you can squeeze into your day—and skip a shower, and that counts for a lot.
Ahead, prepare to discover your next favorite spot for deep plies and playground-ball thigh squeezes—quick, before the masses are clued in. —Erin Magner
(Photo: Barre Lab)
Best for: The chassé posse
The studio: With a schedule that includes everything from beginner’s ballet to cardio dance, this new Hollywood studio (just off the 101 Freeway) provides a perfect blend of disciplines for Tinseltown’s wannabe Misty Copelands. As for its signature barre class, prepare to move through traditional Lotte Berk-style barre circuits, using props (resistance bands, balls, weights, straps) in sets that target arms, legs, seat, and core individually.
Insider tip: Short yoga intervals break up the circuits, both mentally and physically prepping you to go hard again in the following round.
1947 N. Cahuenga Blvd. #101, Hollywood, 90068 (323) 465-8881
(Photo: Barre Lab)
Best for: The soulful sculptor
The studio: Precision and positivity are everything at Barre Belle, which deftly melds dance and athleticism with a hint of spirituality and girl power. If you take a class with founder Marnie Alton herself (and you should), you’ll receive lots of hands-on alignment adjustments, ultra-motivational cueing, and plenty of full-body ballet conditioning—don’t be surprised if you want to keep on tucking after the hour ends.
Insider tip: You won’t need grippy socks here. Classes are barefoot, and the floor is anti-microbial cork.
113 N. La Brea Ave., District La Brea, (323) 591-0480
(Photo: Barre Belle)
Best for: Polyamorous exercisers
The studio: What started as Centre Barre in January has evolved into a full-service fitness Shangri-la, where you can now take classes in Zumba, indoor cycling, mat Pilates, and even burlesque dance. But the South Pasadena studio’s original barre class is still a fan favorite—my session with instructor Kristi Slager felt more graceful and choreographed than the average barre blast, with one sequence flowing seamlessly into the next (perhaps a nod to her training in ballet, jazz, and hip-hop).
Insider tip: Even so, there are zero dance moves in this class. (Just light to medium-weight dumbbells plus playground balls and resistance bands for sculpting sets and some anaerobic bursts.)
1015 Mission St., South Pasadena, (626) 818-4360
(Photo: Centre Fitness)
Best for: Heat seekers
The studio: This five-month-old Manhattan Beach spot (an offshoot of Hot 8 Yoga) is all about hot barre classes, offering four types of workouts with varying degrees of temperature and intensity. Somehow, I didn’t feel slowed down by the 105-degree heat in my Hot Barre class with studio director Brookelin Gottlieb (which combines yoga, weight training, barre work, and non-impact cardio). And I was able to go deeper into position—and get a deeper, and definitely much sweatier, barre workout.
Insider tip: At the end of class, the sauna-like spell is broken by a cold eucalyptus towel, a short savasana, and a hit of ocean breeze through the open door—in other words, heaven.
3618 Highland Ave., Manhattan Beach, (310) 546-7700
(Photo: Barre 105)
Why your boyfriend should go to barre class
5 barre poses you need to know before your first class
5 reasons why 2015 is the year of the barre