AIRBarre dance-based fitness classes defy gravity

Mon Feb 16, 2015 8:01am EST
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - AIRBarre, a new group fitness class, combines the dance-based moves of a ballet barre class with the suspension hammocks of anti-gravity yoga for a workout that experts say can boost strength, coordination and endurance.

In the class, hammocks attached to the ceiling replace the traditional ballet barres and allow exercisers to stabilize even as they take flight.

“AIRBarre is a fitness technique that integrates traditions of dance,” said Lorianne Major, a group instructor in New York City at Crunch, a U.S. gym chain. “The hammock allows for three-dimensional movement you can’t repeat with a regular barre.”

The hammocks from which clients hang, lean, suspend or balance, act as stabilizers for a range of bends, jumps and turns, Major said.

“The hammock allows the experienced dancer to get more air time in jumps and the non-experienced dancer to find proper alignment by taking the strength of the barre into the air,” she said.

AIRBarre is the latest creation of Christopher Harrison, a former Broadway dancer who is also credited with launching anti-gravity yoga in 2007.

Although the moves are based on ballet, Major said it is suitable for everyone.

Health and fitness expert Andrea Metcalf, who teaches a barre class in Chicago, said adding the anti-gravity element can increase balance and coordination and tap hard-to-reach postural and upper back muscles.   Continued...