Sunday, November 16, 2014

Beauty and fitness destination: Barrefigure



Barrefigure is a chic, boutique fitness studio located on Richmond Road that also happens to be the first independent barre studio in Auckland, New Zealand.
The Barrefigure technique taught by owner Marysa Dalton (above) is a truly dynamic fusion of ballet barre work, Pilates, yoga and strength conditioning set to music. It targets all muscle groups and  tones, strengthens and lengthens them, creating a leaner, longer looking physique. I’ve tried a few classes since the day the studio opened and can honestly say that the one-hour sessions are most definitely a relentless, full body workout, and no walk in the park! Having said that, while Barrefigure is high intensity, it is very low impact, meaning you’ll get a great workout without putting excessive stress on your joints. You focus on tiny isometric movements and using your own body weight to sculpt your physique.
Marysa was a member of the Royal New Zealand Ballet for seven years, then moved on to guest in the West Australian Ballet in Perth, and as a Principal artist in Neglia Ballet and Dance in Upstate New York.
After hanging up her pointe shoes in 2010 she became the Executive Assistant to the Ambassador at the New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, and while she “loved having an office job I really missed movement, so I decided to work towards my Pilates Mat Certification and taught at various gyms and studios around Manhattan”. It was at this point that she discovered barre classes when they started popping up around her neighbourhood, and soon got seriously addicted. She says that she immediately loved how they made her body feel, “and that they gave me a similar challenge to what my body had when I was dancing.” This answers my next question before it comes out of my mouth, which was around the subject whether ex-dancers nail barre the minute that they walk through the door. “Oh I don’t find it easy at all,” says Dalton with a smile, “I keep my poker face on the whole time but I feel the uncontrollable shaking in my muscles in some poses just as much as everyone else… if you see me smiling in a class rest assured that I am feeling it just as much as you are!”
Enamoured, she made it her mission to spread the love and become a barre instructor, and soon after moving to London was invited by Niki Rein (a former Tracey Anderson trainer) to join the team at Barrecore, the first barre studio in London. She officially obtained her barre certification in the UK and became a Master Instructor, teaching group and private classes for two years at studios located in Chelsea and Mayfair. 
But after six amazing years away from New Zealand the pull of home was strong, and clearly also the time to launch Barrefigure classes in Auckland. “It was always my goal to open a barre studio in Auckland,” she explains, adding “I’m from Christchurch so it’s all so new to me. I was a little worried that after living in New York and London that I would miss the pace of a really big city but I absolutely love it here.”
She has launched with a signature barre class and a beginner’s option, both of which are a fusion of her first two loves - ballet and pilates - and inspired by both. “If you don’t have a background in either it makes no difference though,” she says, “as I keep classes small so I can demonstrate each and every move and check in if people are doing them correctly.” She caps classes at 17 participants and is the only teacher on board at present, and says that - depending on what type of other movement you include in your life - you can see real results attending around three classes a week. As well as teaching classes she takes private lessons and also welcomes private groups for a super motivating experience, and there are plans for a Barrefigure boot camp and a more dance-focused class too.
I love the classes and highly recommend them for a fun as well as challenging 60 minutes. And as Marysa’s website says: “as long as you can hold on to the ballet barre, you can do Barrefigure! No dancing experience required.”


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