To me, the bar meant plies in first, second and fifth positions long before it meant vodka-tonic with lime. I studied dance from age 2 to 22. Yet, after slipping my feet into hospital-like socks and grabbing a mat, hand weights and a resistance band at Xtend Barre in Boca Raton, I soon realized I’d underestimated this ballet-inspired workout.
Based in Boca
Petite and perky Xtend Barre founder Andrea Rogers taught my Friday morning class at the new corporate flagship studio. The company operates nearly 200 locations worldwide, but Rogers decided to build the studio, which offers more than 70 classes per week, near home—next to the Town Center at Boca Raton.
Why it’s challenging
Following Rogers’ professional dance career, the Michigan native moved to South Florida and began teaching Pilates. She found herself “sprinkling in some choreography” during classes, and eventually, she fused the two practices.
“It happened organically,” Rogers says. “I didn’t want to take over the world. I just wanted a workout that I like.” Xtend Barre isn’t just likeable; it also kicks your butt. The workout calls for movements that are native to ballet, but in an amplified manor. Since Xtend Barre is a workout and not an art form, the class uses repetition to hone in on target areas, like abs, glutes, thighs and triceps. Rogers says it’s a full-body workout. “We work the body head-to-toe, front-to-back, in-to-out,” she says.
With the right mix of cardio and stretching, participants form lean muscles ballerinas flaunt during “Swan Lake.” And, unlike many other barre classes, Rogers also throws in vocabulary. This may have been the first time I had seen women in racerback tanks and yoga pants responding to “arabesque” and “passé.”
But it’s also for everyone
Fatigued halfway through the class, I pulled a “too-thirsty-to-continue” cop-out and grabbed my water bottle in the middle of a leg raising sequence. This is when I noticed a woman (who Rogers later confirmed to be 78 years old) still going strong. I dropped the hydration act and got moving. With each class exercise, Rogers offers an option to modify movements, so there’s really no excuse for stopping. “There’s a level of intimidation at any new workout place you go to, but this is a place for everyone,” she says.