Road test: Barrefigure ballet-inspired class


barrefigureWe love trying out new kinds of exercise and our editor, Ange, recently had the opportunity to road test a Barrefigure class as part of a group lesson with Marysa Dalton, New Zealand School of Dance graduate, former dancer for the Royal New Zealand Ballet and founder of the new Barrefigure studio in Ponsonby, Auckland.

Barrefigure is a new boutique studio on Richmond Road in Ponsonby that opened just seven weeks ago but already has a loyal group of followers with more people giving it a go every day.

In 2012 Barrefigure founder Marysa Dalton was invited by Niki Rein (a former Tracey Anderson trainer) to join the team at Barrecore, the first barre studio in London. Marysa was thrilled to obtain her barre certification in the UK and to work alongside such inspiring colleagues and clients. She became a Master Instructor, teaching group and private classes for two years at the studios located in Chelsea and Mayfair.

The class

Barrefigure’s signature group fitness class (which shares the same name as the studio) is low impact and comprises of interval training and isometric exercises to reshape and sculpt your body. If you’re not experienced with ballet, there’s no need to fear – the movements are relatively simple and are repeated dance/Pilates-based exercises rather than choreographed sequences!

Classes are 60 minutes long, divided into a 15 minute warmup of upper body exercises, 25 minutes of leg and seated exercises, 20 minutes of core conditioning, and finally finishing up with a brief stretch and relaxation period.

Led by an instructor, you use your own body weight as resistance, small hand weights and the ballet barre to perform high repetitions which overload the muscles. This is combined with stretching to elongate muscles for a leaner look.

As a figure skater with relatively decent strength and flexibility, I have a strong interest in classes that use movements drawn from dance and Pilates so this class was right up my alley. Marysa made me feel comfortable from the moment I entered the beautiful grey and pink studio. She made her way around the room frequently to ensure everyone felt encouraged and had individual attention if required (especially useful when your muscles are screaming at you and there are still a few reps to go!).

What you need

barrefigure2Mats, individual hand towels, workout balls, light dumbbells and straps are all provided so you really only need to bring a bottle of water to rehydrate.

All classes are done in socks so make sure you bring a pair of them; non-slip socks are available at the reception for purchase. Wear breathable workout clothing that allows you to move and stretch easily.

What youโ€™ll be working out

Everything! A fusion of barre exercises and pilates with some yoga and strength training thrown in, the small, controlled movements and stretches work out every part of your body at some point during the session. You can certainly feel your muscles being challenged!

The movements in the class I attended had all of us sweating and feeling the burn at some point; including my friend who is a seasoned yoga instructor and others – some of who were obviously fit and/or had previous experience as dancers.

If you want to give Barrefigure a go for the first time and feel unsure about what you’re doing, it would be best to start out with Marysa’s beginner’s class, otherwise jump straight into this one or the more advanced Barre Burn.


One-off classes cost $28, you can buy multiple class concessions (5-pack $130, 10-pack $250, 20-pack $480), or you can get 30 day unlimited class passes. There are also a range of introductory and special deals available for a limited time only.

Other classes available include Barrefigure Beginner’s (a slower paced version of the signature Barrefigure class) and Barre Burn (a higher intensity version of Barrefigure). The studio also offers one on one intro sessions for pregnant mums-to-be and private or semi-private sessions.

For more information on Barrefigure’s classes, visit barrefigure.co.nz.

Images / Supplied

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