Finding the Barre
As I mentioned in my first blog post (which you can see here), Pilates is my first love of workouts. It was a long process...but that is for another post. So how did I start teaching Barre? Well, I completed my full certification in December 2005 (this included mat, reformer, cadillac, and barrels). I was actually one of the last students the studio certified, because they started their own program in 2006. As I said earlier, more on that in a future post.
The year after you complete your certification (I think they give you a year) you need to complete continuing education. My accreditation requires I complete six hours of continuing education each year to keep my certification current. As I mentioned in earlier paragraph, the studio I studied at started their own program (which by the way is awesome, but I just invested A LOT of money to be certified under the original program, so it just was not good timing for me to continue with them) so I had to find workshops on my own. Given that I live outside New York City, they weren't too difficult to find.
The next few years I was able to locate various workshops which were fantastic. I did "Pilates for Men", "Pilates on the Green" (for golfers), "Prenatal Pilates", "Pilates with Bosu", "Athletic Conditioning on the Reformer Part 1 and 2", and the list goes on. I was really expanding my knowledge and incorporating what I learned in my classes.
For those of you that know me, 2013 was a challenging year. My husband and I both went through surgery (I have another blog about that somewhere on the internet), our daughter was finishing up preschool and we were trying to decide on where to send her to Kindergarten because our town didn't offer full day and we both worked full-time. (Our town started full-day Kindergarten the following year...just one year too late for us). In short, we had A LOT going on. Summer was starting, and I knew I had to get these continuing education credits completed before we went to surgery in mid-July or they just weren't going to get done. I didn't want to be scrambling in the Fall to find workshops.
As it turned out, Merrithew Fitness started their own Barre program just that year. I happened to find a studio in Connecticut that would be hosting the instructor certification course in June. It was a full day course so it would take care of my credits for the entire year. I talked to Ron about it and he agreed to drive up with me and stay overnight for the course. We stayed in a hotel the night before the class. He was particularly excited about the location because it was near "Mustangs Unlimited", a Ford Mustang supply superstore. (Ron has been restoring a 1965 Ford Mustang since before I met him).
Now I had heard of Barre classes, and I even took one once with a friend. It was really fun but there really weren't any regular classes in my area. I honestly didn't think this would be something I would even continue, I just needed the credit. I never took ballet and I certainly wasn't a dancer. Why would anyone take a barre class from me?
o I took the course with an open mind. Guess what? The instructor trainer wasn't a former dancer! Wait, maybe this is something I can teach?! The program was awesome. There were three of us in the class which made it so much easier to learn. (There are always one or two no-shows at these things, I guess stuff just comes up). The instructor broke down each segment clearly and it was really almost like a standing Pilates class. I already understand all the principles of Pilates, which were all applied to this program. (Remember the principles? I talk about the first one, breathing, here.) I believe first and foremost that is what makes me a successful barre instructor. I already had a background (eight years) of teaching Pilates under my belt.
Now that is the first thing. Not too far behind in second place is understanding musicality. Yep, it's a thing. You need to understand how to count music. Maybe it is from playing the clarinet for five years, I don't know, but I understand how to count music. I can just hear changes in the music. Not everyone can. I can't explain it. It is just something you have or not. Now I am not saying you HAVE to have this, but it REALLY HELPS! Many dancers are drawn to Barre class because they feel it is a fun way to stay fit. And it is! But do understand that you can leave the tutu at home if you want.