Honor Guide Sandy Betz shares "Your Place At The Barre"

What do you know about Barre?

This is Sandy. She is a ray of human sunshine. 

This is Sandy. She is a ray of human sunshine. 

 Here are the things I keep hearing: Barre is hard.  Barre is trendy. Barre is low impact. Barre is intimidating.  The bottom line: Barre is taking its rightful place in the category of long-term effective workouts and Barre is for you.  

All over the interwebs, there are articles about the benefits of barre.  

Studios are cropping up in droves, here in Portland when I first started taking Barre there was only one studio offering barre-based classes, now in the Portland area you can count almost 20, with some of the biggest franchises taking their place on the Portland scene.  

Every studio offers something just a little different, believe me when I say that there is a barre class for everyone.  

It doesn’t matter your fitness level, injury history or years on this planet; barre is safe, effective and fun.

It isn’t all willowy dancers and the super-fit.  Barre is completely individual. It is about finding your own sense of strong and building that strength from the inside out.  

Is it easy?  Nope.


Whether it is your first class or your hundredth (or thousandth!) barre is always challenging and you pick the challenge.  At Honor we are your guides through class. We give you fun, effective sequencing, safe, anatomically sound cueing with modifications that work and we are there to help you challenge yourself.   

The hardest part of barre is stepping into the studio for the first time.  

The rest of it, while not easy does fall into place. That place may at first be a sweaty, shaky kind of space but at the end is a sense of accomplishment and some pretty kick booty endorphins.  

I remember my first barre class.   I returned to the office and was so exhausted I couldn’t change back into my work attire.  I was sweaty, shaky and slightly dazed from 55 minutes of tiny movements, isometric holds, and long stretches.   

I’m still not sure what prompted me to take that first barre class.  I have a feeling it had something to do with me not being able to get into my normal Pilates reformer class.  I do know it was on a Friday and was taught by one of my most beloved Pilates instructors. She was knowledgeable and encouraging even as my thighs shook and sweat dripped down my back.  I have read a lot of articles (and even touted this myself recently…) that barre is a great pre-going out exercise, if you want to get your workout in but don’t want to sweat a lot barre is for you.  Maybe. But for me in those first months (and today!) I left barre a sweaty mess, but kind of all glowy on the inside from a feeling of accomplishment.

Something about how I felt kept me coming back to barre.  At first only once a week or so and as I started to see the progress I found myself showing up more and more to the barre.  When I started barre I was at the beginning of my fitness journey. I was a Pilates regular, but barre challenged my body and my assumptions about my capabilities in a completely different way.  I in turns dreaded it, was scared of it and looked forward to every single class.


Sandy being equal parts badass and adorable.

Sandy being equal parts badass and adorable.

The sneaky thing about barre is that it changes your body and your mind in a short amount of time.  Even after just 2 classes, I started to see my strength shift, I could go deeper in thigh-work, hold a plank for a few more seconds and keep my legs in tabletop almost the entire time.  

Yes, Barre was “invented” by a former dancer, the amazing Lotte Berke; but Barre exists to be embraced by everyone.  Starting is hard but your Honor guides will lead you every step of the way. Modifications, challenges, we are here to not just get you through the class but to get you to your next class.

Movement is life.  Barre is smart movement designed to give you life.  Come and find your spot at the barre.

Shannon Episcopo