Bar Method seeks the dancer's body without the dance

Mon Apr 4, 2011 6:09am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Women who crave muscle tone but fear bulging biceps are flocking to The Bar Method, a body-sculpting exercise system that purports to whittle dancer-type forms from non-dancing bodies.

Enthusiasts say the workout, which engages a ballet bar and draws movements from isometrics, dance conditioning and interval training, targets the most shape-changing muscles.

"You get this long, lean dancer's body," Dannah Lewis, director of marketing and communications for The Bar Method said from the company's San Francisco headquarters.

"It's really specific, a very defined look. Near the office, I can pick all our clients out of a crowd."

Elongated muscles, narrow thighs, a lifted seat, defined hamstrings and flat abdominals are among the most noticeable features of The Bar Method body, according to the company.

Lewis, a devotee for two years, adds improved posture, reduced body fat, and back pain relief.

The Bar Method is based on the technique of Lotte Berk, a German-born dancer who fled to London in the 1930's. After injuring her back, she combined ballet bar routines with rehabilitative therapy and the Lotte Berk Method exercise system was born.

Berk disciple Burr Leonard tweaked the method in the 1990s, revising the exercises with the help of a physical therapist and streamlining the pacing of classes.   Continued...