Kristy Serpell: the attack of the barre

By Ivy Jensen

WITH FOUR DAUGHTERS, a part-time job and a business on the side, Kristy Serpell doesn’t get much time to herself.

But when her physiotherapist recommended she try clinical Pilates to help with her core strength after having a baby last year, Kristy started to think of it as her “me time”.

Soon, however, it was much more than that, as she swapped the exercise class for barre attack; a dynamic fusion of Pilates, ballet and fitness.

“It’s an hour I get to myself which I enjoy and while I’m having a great time doing it, I’m also improving my fitness,” she said.

Kristy started the adult class earlier this year after seeing it advertised by Suzanne’s School of Ballet, where her daughters attend dance lessons.

“It seemed like it would give me an all-over body workout and I have watched the girls gain strength and flexibility from their ballet classes. I thought that’s what I need,” she said.

Suzanne’s School of Ballet principal Jodie Ritchie had been helping Kristy regain her pelvic and core strength after Kristy gave birth to her youngest daughter Edeline a year ago.

“I had an abdominal tear, that’s when the physio recommended the Pilates, back in October,” Kristy said.

“I have just recently stopped that as I have built enough strength to continue on my journey with the barre classes.”

Barre attack and adult classes have been running consistently at the school since the start of the year.

Jodie said Barre Attack was a low impact, high intensity workout combining the best of standing Pilates work, short cardio intervals and simple ballet dance moves.

Developed by a former professional dancer working with physiotherapists, it is designed to help everyone move and function better in a fun and safe manner.

“The class is accessible for everybody and all levels of fitness,” Jodie said.

“No dance experience is required, and it is suitable for all ages, so you can go at your own pace and increase it as your fitness and strength increases.”

Which is perfect for Kristy.

“I did very little ballet as a child. My sister was the ballet dancer. I enjoyed jazz more,” she said.

“I'm trying to build strength to get back to running, so it's been great to build my core and glute strength as well as cardio.

“I can now plank on my toes for a short time and my push-ups are improving, as well as my posture to help support my pelvis.

“I still need to gain more hip flexibility and lower core strength, but Jodie is helping me with the next options to build that strength so I can get back running.”

Jodie said Pilates and ballet were extremely popular among women when it came to fitness.

“We need to focus on core muscles and pelvic floor, both before and after having children, and the classes are perfect for strengthening in a safe and practical manner,” she said.

“With barre attack's sequences you will feel like your body is realigned, balanced and centered.

“Best of all, you will feel more connected to your body, giving you a sense of self and confidence which can be only be ignited through the joy of movement.”

Research has shown dancing can improve your mental health by boosting your overall happiness.

“Our Barre Attack and dance classes are a great cardio workout,” Jodie said.

“The classes can improve cardiovascular health, increase stamina, strengthen bones and muscles and stave off illnesses.

“With a focus on correct posture and recruiting correct muscles we can focus on creating long and lean muscles and practical strength.”

Jodie said Barre Attack was a great class for women as it was designed to get you longer, leaner muscles in a fun and safe way.

“In particular, our barre attack for mums class is a great way for mums who may have trouble making the time for themselves to exercise to be able to participate in the class while their children are looked after and entertained,” she said.

Something Kristy will look at doing when the time comes.

For now, her daughter is happy enough to sleep through the class in her pram.

“I highly recommend barre attack to others,” she said.

“It is a great all over body workout by using resistance bands, body weight and deep core exercises.

“Jodie really knows her stuff and makes sure technique is mastered, but we also have a really good laugh and chat.”