{barre vs. berk}

by | Jan 18, 2017 | Blog, Esther Fairfax

As we head into 2017, I wanted to take a second to talk about the difference between Barre fitness classes (as we know them) and the TRUE Lotte Berk technique that I discovered just a couple of years ago deep in the countryside of ENGLAND. I taught Barre for many years and LOVED it. I was told, like many other Barre instructors, that I was teaching an exercise technique passed on to us by the one and only German Ballerina, Lotte Berk. It wasn’t until I was finally able to get my hands on a book written by Lotte’s daughter, Esther Fairfax, that I began to uncover the secrets that had never been told to me or so many others. Lotte Berk’s ORIGINAL technique never actually made it to the US in its TRUE form. Thirty years ago, the Lotte Berk name found its way to the US, but the technique itself had been altered so much that it barely resembled its original style. Free weights, resistance bands, and entirely new exercises were being called ‘Lotte Berk.’ Today, you’ll find many versions of Lotte’s work that’s often confused with Pilates, Barre, or other mat-based techniques. Up until The LONDON Method, there wasn’t a studio teaching Lotte’s work in the US as it was meant to be: taught in its ORIGINAL form. When I finally decided to take the huge leap, and fly to England to train with Lotte’s daughter Esther, I didn’t know what I was going to find. I was worried the technique would be outdated, overly complicated, and that all the negative things I had heard would be true. But what I found was the complete opposite. I found the strongest, tiniest, most amazing 83-year-old women I had ever met teaching exercises that I had never seen in all my years of taking Barre classes. Her clients were both young and old, and the older ones were the most fit—some withstanding surgeries that their doctors had insisted they must undergo, when all they seemed to need was a little ‘Hello Sailor’ to set their bodies straight again. I came home a new woman amazed by what I had seen and loving the bond these women in England shared with one another. Could this be recreated in America? Would we understand it like they all did? That you didn’t have to feel like you were hurting yourself to look good? That you could perform these unique exercises very precisely without causing more havoc in your body? And we found out is that we could—and we did! I want to take this moment to thank all the ladies who walked into The LONDON Method’s Bluff Park studio in Long Beach, California and gave this old, tried but TRUE technique a chance. From all of us at TLM, we hope everyone gets to experience what we have this past year: having FUN, getting FIT, and loving every painful second of it!

– Kelly

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