The Powerbarre exercise studio in the Pineapple Grove Arts District of downtown Delray Beach, Florida, delivers workouts that can help achieve the firmer stomach, smaller waistline, and tighter, rounder butt headlined on so many magazine covers but that’s not all. A fusion of ballet barre work, core exercises, and weight resistance poses done to music, Powerbarre also helps strengthen injured and tight muscles.
Powerbarre’s owner, Dorian Hayes, bases her workouts on the Lotte Berk Method. A world famous German ballerina in the 1930s who sustained spinal injuries in a car accident, Lotte Berk developed an intense strengthening and stretching program to help in her own recovery. She eventually developed a workout program, and opened an exercise studio in London in 1959. In the early 1970s, one of Berk’s devotees brought the method to the U.S., opening a studio in New York that attracted actors, dancers, and a number of athletes.
Like Berk, Hayes created Powerbarre as the result of being involved in a terrible car accident. Hayes was left with two fused vertebrae in her neck, underwent two knee operations, and had reconstructive hand surgery that left one hand especially weak. Hayes practiced the Lotte Berk method in Connecticut before moving to Delray Beach four years ago. She opened Powerbarre partly to ensure continuity of exercise routines, and also to maintain her weight and shape as the mother of four children.
In each class, participants utilize light hand weights, rubber balls, yoga straps, and the ballet barre to strengthen muscle groups one at a time.
Try this lengthening and strengthening exercise at home:
Lie face down on the mat, resting on your forearms, palms flat, fingers spread forming a diamond directly in front of your nose. Push off the floor, raising up onto your curled-under toes and resting on your elbows. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from your head to your heels. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear-end from sticking up in the air. Hold for 60-100 seconds. For a challenging variation, add the “Side Plank” (see photo). Lift yourself off the mat up onto one elbow and forearm, with your legs straight and feet stacked on top of one another. Align your body so that your head, trunk, legs and feet all fall within the same line, your free arm reaching above you to the ceiling.
Location: PowerBarre, 200 NE 2nd Avenue (Pineapple Grove Arts District), at City Walk, studio 111, in Delray Beach, Florida.