What training to teach barre classes has taught me

I recently started teaching for Fort Worth’s own barre studio (learn more here!) and I’m having so much fun getting into the more fitness side of movement teaching and practice. And like anything, I learned a ton of lessons from it:

  1. Teaching is teaching
    I have been teaching in various forms for 10 years now. True, most of my teaching experience has been dance (which is of course, similar in many ways to teaching the barre classes, but it’s also a very different form with different goals in mind as well), but I also spent 3 years teaching technology classes to adults. Teaching is teaching, let me tell you. If you can explain or demonstrate a difficult concept simply… you are a teacher and could probably teach anything that you fully understand yourself. Looking for potential mistakes to help students learn is the same whether you’re talking computers or chemistry, ballet or biology, and fitness or pharmacology… well, that’s how I imagine it since I have not taught any science class ever, but you get the idea.

    Related: public speaking is public speaking, and if you are a teacher that’s not comfortable with public speaking then you are going to have a hard time.

  2. You can change your body
    Even though I’ve danced all my life, I’ve always been kind of complacent about things like weight and body shape. But after just weeks of training, teaching, and taking class (granted, I was doing lots and lots of that) I already look and feel different. The work we do in barre class targets certain parts of my body that other dance classes never well. The lesson: find something that you enjoy and put in some effort and you likely will be able to change your body in some way.

  3. You can change your mind
    I took my first barre class this past January and I hated it. Like I really hated it. It was super hard, I was out of shape, and I left convinced it just wasn’t for me. I came back in July just to try it again and realized that not only did I want to be in class but I wanted to teach. I generally decide things pretty quickly, but now I’ve changed my mind.

  4. Pursuit of excellence, not perfection
    One of the things I like most about barre class is that it’s a pursuit of bettering yourself… not a pursuit of perfection. One thing I struggle with when I teach ballet is teaching proper form, but without really messing with kids heads… they have to try hard and know what perfect technique consists of,  but I don’t want to encourage masochistic perfectionism either (an unfortunate side effect of some ballet instruction). There’s less worry about this with barre because you’re working with adults and we’re constantly giving modifications. Unlike most dance classes, the point is not to do the exercise so that you look awesome while you do it, the point is to do the exercise so that you get the benefit of the exercise. If you do it with a low leg or a high leg, doesn’t matter, you’ll still see the benefit.

  5. When possible, work with people you really like
    Everyone I’ve worked with so far has been so nice, and so positive. I really can’t say enough how great it is to work with people you genuinely like and respect.

    Have you ever taken a barre class before? What did you learn?