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I hesitated before buying a copy of the latest Bar Method Dancer’s Body Advanced Workout DVD ($20) a few weeks ago because I was unsure if I would really get anything more than I have from the four Bar Method DVD workouts that I own. Also I was doubtful that I would take to a class that wasn’t presented by the Bar Method’s iconic and inspiring founder, Burr Leonard. But in for a penny, in for a dollar and I ordered not only the DVD, but several Bar Method accessories.
Dancer’s Body Advanced Workout is led by master Bar Method teacher Marine Alton, who with her deep tan, dazzling smile, and California vibe couldn’t be more different from the elfin Ms. Leonard. Nonetheless, she is a clear communicator, fastidious about form with oodles of positive energy. I began to look forward to working out with her.
Now the workout itself is pure Bar Method and at first blush is extremely similar to Super Sculpting II. But when that first blush becomes a deep flush as the result of exertion, the difference becomes clear. Dancer’s Body Advanced Workout is way more intense than anything else in the Bar Method repertoire. It is Super Sculpting II ($20) with extra sets, a faster pace and a few more exercises.
Supposedly, there is a “wicked new abdominal exercise, the calm.” Despite having gone through the class many times, I’m not sure which one this is. No matter, Dancer’s Body Advanced Workout has freshened things up for me and given me a new level of challenge. As with all Bar Method DVDs, the results are a transformed body shape – long, lean and sculpted muscle (and at any age: I started with Bar Method in my 50s and have a completely different body shape as a result) – and the added bonus of being more aerobic, so you can expect some weight loss. Take note, though, the title of this workout is advanced and that means, quite simply, that it is harder than its predecessors.
For those of you that don’t know The Bar Method, you can read reviews about the introductory workouts here. In short, it integrates the fat burning of interval training, the muscle shaping technique of isometrics, and the elongating principles of dance conditioning. It’s super efficient and you get results that you can see.
You don’t need a bar to do The Bar Method; a chair will suffice. You do need The Bar Method Ball ($12) though. I have tried improvising with pillows, rolled up mats, the cat (just joking) and they don’t work. The ball really helps sculpt the inner thigh and is a useful prop for many Bar Method exercises. When buying Dancer’s Body Advanced Workout I also bought the small Bar Method mat ($19.99), the weights and a strap. The mat is supposed to provide support to the balls of the feet when doing some of the releve positions and I found that not only does that but seems to make the movements more precise. I definitely miss it now if it isn’t on hand. The weights ($15.99) are a good investment if you don’t have a set as they are versatile: empty, they weigh nothing and so are great for those on the go, or can be filled with water for 2.5lb or sand for 4lb. The strap is probably the easiest to improvise (belt, elastics etc), but I was surprised to find that it is not only extremely comfortable and easy to grip on, but it improved my stretches noticeably – a very good thing since I am, in my husband’s words, as inflexible in body as I am in mind.