Meet scholarship winner, Jillian!

Jillian Klenck Barre Scholarship 2023 Winner

Howdy, reader! Are you ready to be inspired today? We hope so, because that’s exactly what we’re serving up, in the neat package of Jillian Klenck. She’s a barre fanatic from New Mexico, who moved us with her incredible story of inclusion and passion. We can’t wait for you to meet her! (Then meet you on a road trip around her home state – deal?)

Hi Jillian! Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I am Jillian! I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico – often referred to as the land of enchantment – but more so by the locals as the land of entrapment. I’m definitely one of those, entrapped by New Mexico’s beauty – most known around the world for the show “Breaking Bad” but ironically amongst those who haven’t seen the show, some in the US are unaware NM is even a state at all! So we feel to be a mysterious place in that regard!

The southwest is one of my favorite regions of the US. Part of the reason I love New Mexico so much is because of the food and the open skies. It is also a good diving off point from where to travel, and hear me when I say I love to travel! I travel as often as I can – road tripping and taking it slow or trying to hit several countries in a matter of a few days. I would love to return to Australia one day – I have fond memories of my time there.

Teaching Barre is a big part of my life and heart – I love all aspects of it and have never felt better (mentally & physically) than when I am practicing often. I feel so fortunate to have maintained my position teaching Barre at my local studio, Body Language, for as long as I have. I’ve been part of this community for the past 14 years and teaching barre/spin/TRX classes for at least seven. I actually can’t imagine my life without being connected to the barre style of movement in some way.

That said, my work instructing is absolutely a labor of love – I pour my heart into every class I teach and relish the opportunity to guide fellow barre/spin fanatics by helping them find/maintain that spark of connection from within. When I’m not shaking at the barre, I work as a nationally certified American Sign Language Interpreter. Another community that it’s such a privilege to work alongside. Uniting my love for barre and designing an accessible space for Deaf people to practice this form of exercise is a big dream of mine.

WOW! You are amazing. What is it that attracted you to Barre Body?

I first discovered Barre Body based on accounts I follow on Instagram. I quickly followed them and always stop to engage with their posts. They are thoughtfully curated and are as cute/humorous as they are beneficial in tips on form, ideas for moves, and so on. Basically, Barre Body looks like a place that is community centered (which IMO is an amazing presence to have cultivated digitally) and would be so welcoming and fun to be a part of. On top of that, a studio with deliberate teachers who deliver a smokin’ workout while placing emphasis on form and – let’s be real: fun – on top of all else. I also love that your studio has been influenced by the teachings of the OG Lotte Berk – what a bad ass barre babe!

Why does the scholarship mean so much to you?

What an incredible honor to be awarded this scholarship. It comes at a time in my life when I feel at a crossroads personally and professionally. It feels like a changing time and I am here for it, even though it feels a bit bumpy at times! Word of this scholarship coincided with having been dreaming about opening a space locally or digitally. Attempting to offer our local market something just a bit different than all the others, incorporating the reformer machine and my love for barre is part of this vision.

So far, the only gears turning are those in my head, but I can’t help but wonder if being afforded this opportunity is the first step of many towards that end.

I should also mention that I’ve developed my teaching with a basis of experience in taking classes, meaning that I’ve never received formal training in barre. I would be lying if I said I haven’t always craved this; supplementing the things I’ve learned with a more formal knowledge.

Learning interpreting was a lot this way for me, it is a learning profession and after 10 years interpreting I decided to return for a Masters Degree in interpreting pedagogy. The depth of knowledge I was able to build during my program felt to be much more profound than when I was learning to interpret for the first time in my early 20s. Having had my lived experience, my new knowledge had something to attach to.

I believe I am at a place with my relationship to barre where if I don’t step up to further my knowledge, I run the risk of plateauing. I feel passionate when I talk about and think about movement and especially barre. In equal parts, I have poured my love and dedication into learning about the Deaf community and how to best deliver culturally relevant interpretations to those I serve. In taking part in Barre Body’s formal training, I believe it will only strengthen my personal understanding of things like our muscular and skeletal structures often recruited during classes involved. With a deeper understanding of these things, I will be more effective when it comes to translating these concepts into the visual language that is ASL.

Can you tell us what movement means to you?

Movement is a privilege to engage in. It is an honor to find a connection with our bodies and finding this spark should be celebrated. The chance to move in all forms should be celebrated. I think of people who perhaps are not physically able to move, and I think of ways we can redefine what movement means in these cases to mean something broader – perhaps visualizations or accessing mental spaces. If we adopt this definition, then no matter the body, age, shape, or size, I would like to believe every body could and should engage. The more we do it, the better it feels – so we had better never quit! One way we allow ourselves the time and space to delve a bit deeper into its knowing is exercise – and namely for me – barre. Connecting and communicating in new ways in this relationship I have with my body – recognizing the perfection is the imperfection and choosing to love so much more because it’s the only one I’ll ever have.

What are you most excited to get out of the training?

As mentioned, a more formal knowledge base is what I’m most hoping to attain. I want to feel more prepared than I currently do if one of my clients is working around injury or is postpartum. I hope to feel more knowledgeable about the muscular skeletal systems. I’m eager to think differently about something I’ve been thinking about for so long. I’m excited to grow and develop my teaching abilities, learn new tips and tricks. I am most excited to get to know another community of avid barre fans and to lean in to each other’s experiences.

What impact do you hope that your story has on your community?

I hope to inspire others to chase their dream, no matter how far along they are down a certain path or how far off that goal seems. And listen here – KISS – or keep it simple stupid! – breaking things, even really complicated things, down into simple steps- will show that all goals are attainable. Some goals may be more steps than others, but whatever it is we set out to do, I believe, as long as we believe in ourselves, we got this!

Holy guacamole Jillian, you’ve convinced us. We do have this! And so do you! We can’t wait to see where you go next.

Is Pilates your jam? Have you always aspired to be an expert teacher? Are you facing obstacles – financial pressures, mental blocks, time restraints – and need extra support? We’ve got you.

Our 2023 Teacher Training Scholarship applications are open and give you the choice of Barre, Pilates Mat or Reformer Pilates training. We review applicants quarterly, so you can apply right now, next month, or whenever your heart desires. The choice is yours. (And the pleasure is ours!)