Consider myself poked...lolz.
Okay, I'll esplain.
The Bar Method is an exercise method that grew out of The Lotte Berk Method, which also has some similarities with Callanetics. There have since been many recent off-shoots (Cardio Barre for example), but those are the original three that originated from Lotte Berk's teachings to her direct students.
Lotte Berk was a famous-in-her time (20s & 30s) German ballet dancer who developed in the 50s a unique-at-the-time exercise approach that isolates aspects of the body to work deep into the muscle, drawing the muscle close to the bone, and working very powerfully from the core. There is a special emphasis on tipping up or tucking the pelvis & gluteus extremely tightly during the exercises, on lengthening
during working a muscle (rarely ever mentioned in fitness classes, IME), and on using small sharp repetitive movements to the point of muscular exhaustion ("go for the shake"), and then stretching the muscle afterwards.
Callan Pinkney was a student of hers and created the original Callenetics series...a powerful physique-transforming series of exercises that were utterly unique as far as what was reaching the mainstream back in the 80s. (Callanetics is responsible for transforming my body at least twice in my life.) Burr Leonard, a teacher of the Lotte Berk Method, then broke away and started her own approach, The Bar Method, and it's currently being rapidly franchised all over the world with an excellent, excellent program & very appealing aesthetic. It's got the best program to reach the masses of any of these similar approaches.
I've used many different types of bodywork & exercises approaches over the years, and specifically to improve as a dancer, and each had its unique benefit (for example, Tai Chi/Qi Gong, Resistance/Meridian Stretching, Pilates Reformer, various Yogas, Rolfing/Structural Integration, and Gyrotonic), but I have to say that The Bar Method is making the most dance-specific changes in my body.
It's working on my core, my pelvic floor, my thighs, my hips, my chest, my arms, and increasing my energy & strength capacity (it's cardio
) and lean body mass like none of the others. It's a very tough, intense workout, but not like a gym workout -- it all has dance-specific benefit. The few men I have seen come in have all been gorgeously fit -- like martial artist masters -- and they sweat and grimace and shake as much as everyone else. It can take anyone, no matter who they are, and bring them to the "edge" of their fitness level. The men and women all develop the most beautiful dancer's bodies...long lean muscles, "close to the bone", strong, responsive...very youthful, alive and flexible. And the best bottoms every.
When my Bar Method workouts are most intense, the inspirations & visions that get me through are all ballroom-related...Yulia with her exquisite frame & musculature...Lorraine with her beautiful feet. Oh yah... The Bar Method develops strong dancer feet, as well.
Seriously, it's stellar for ballrooms dancers. Go to their main website and see what's up in Canada or what's coming to Australia & the UK...it's growing rapidly!
I also do hot yoga, which is helping me. They seem to be working nicely together. My back & spine is FAAARRR looser than when I was competing, and everything is coming alive in a way I so wanted back then. Yay.