Student Stories: Floor Barre with Mané

Leah Flamm
Photo Credit: Enoch Chan

By Leah Flamm

I love Mané’s Floor Barre class. Every time I take it, I think, “I have GOT to come more often. I would dance so much better if I did this every day.” Ballet–like any type of dance–is hard, and improving technique takes time. But if there is one class that will make you improve faster than you would otherwise, it’s Floor Barre. And it doesn’t help only my dancing–it makes walking and even standing up easier because it lengthens, balances and aligns the body.

I leave class feeling lighter, stronger and more relaxed. Mané’s Floor Barre strengthens the tiny muscles we don’t even realize that we have, which makes movement more efficient. Most people have some tension in their shoulders, but supporting the body with the abdominals allows the upper back and shoulders to relax. Mané’s abdominal workout focuses on the lower abs because they support the spine, making it easier to stand up.

When I first took ballet after Floor Barre, I thought, “THIS is what ballet is supposed to feel like!” I could lift my legs higher with less strain. I could feel and hold my turnout more. I could balance for longer–effortlessly. I could hold my arms up using my back and my abs. When lying on the floor, gravity is pulling in different direction, so I can use my rotator muscles to plié without having to support my whole body weight. Lying on my back allows me to find my placement against the floor, and then carrying the position to the side to balance solidifies the correct placement in my muscle memory so I remember what that feels like standing up.

Floor barre improves my technique, strength, and flexibility for ballet, modern and jazz. It’s also my go-to class for when my body feels tight, knotty, twisted or just out of shape from not having danced in a while. Floor Barre makes my body more balanced and symmetrical–and it prepares me for a dance class and anything else. Mané’s stretch and ballet classes are also wonderful. They feel good, they make sense and she’s a thorough, dedicated teacher.

Want to join Leah at Mané’s Floor Barre class? Click here to view our full schedule of adult ballet classes!