Why we won’t promise you a dancer’s body again
You might have noticed a new catchphrase around these parts lately: EVERY BODY BARRE BODY. For the first time, our images and videos don’t feature our teachers. They feature our clients. Our Every Body campaign has landed and the message is clear: every body is a Barre Body. But it might not always have felt that way. This is why we’ve made the change.
What is a dancer’s body anyway?
If you’d come across an ad for Barre Body circa 2013, the tagline probably would have read “get a dancer’s body”. Had you clicked through to our website, you might have read about how barre would shape your muscles – “think long and lean like a ballet dancer”.
It was the perfect description. Who doesn’t want to look like a dancer? Dancers are fit, flexible, effortless. Their bodies ripple with athleticism and grace. And with barre’s heritage in ballet technique, and lots of our teachers dancers or ex-dancers, it all made sense.
If you’d stumbled upon our Instagram page, you would have seen a curated feed of beautiful, aspirational images: strong, lithe bodies spending more time standing on their hands than on their feet. Many of them were our teachers, but you’d be forgiven for thinking they were Cirque Du Soleil contortionists in Lululemon.
How our community changed the game
And then gradually, quietly at first, we started receiving messages. Clients would reach out to tell us that while they loved our classes, loved our welcoming studios, our non-judgemental teachers, our warm and open community, our insistence on listening to your body – they didn’t see themselves. ‘It would be lovely to see more real people featured in your marketing’, we heard. ‘I was really intimidated by your instagram images and I was worried class would be the same’. Now, here’s the honesty corner: at first, we were puzzled. They are real people, we’d think. They’re our teachers! These are the exact people taking classes! But of course, they’re a special breed of real people. They exercise for a living. They’re professionally fit. Lots of them have been dancing since they’ve been walking, or they’re yogi goddesses who defy gravity for fun. They can pull out a spectacular pose, but do they look like the people in our community?
Well, no one does. And everyone does. Our clients are uni students and grandmothers. They’re fashion directors and bank tellers and creatives. They’re apples and pears (coconuts and peaches too). Some have tattoos. Some have cellulite, and so do the rest of them. Some have curves and some have straight lines. Some are incredibly fit, some are absolute beginners, some are growing tiny humans and some are battling invisible illnesses.
Why we’re dropping the dancer’s body
So do our clients all have dancers bodies? Well, every body can dance, so kind of. But do they all look like ballerinas? That’s a no. And is that really what they should be aspiring to? Also a no. We know that our clients love barre for lots of reasons. It feels amazing. It’s empowering. The music’s good. You need almost no equipment to participate. You can have two left feet and a dodgy hip and still feel great moving. There’s a joy and a freedom in barre that lots of us lose when we stop dancing in our teens. Oh, and it works. Like really, really works. The sweat, the shakes, and the incredible strength barre produces are testament to that.
Hello, Every Body
But none of that has anything to do with your body shape, size, colour, or whether you can do the splits. So things are starting to look a little different around here. The bodies in our images today belong to women from our community. They look like the people in our classes, because they are them. Their smiles are real, the ones caught mid-move when the burn sets in and you can only laugh (or cry). And so are ours.
In 2019, we’ve made a commitment. We’ve retired the phrase ‘dancer’s body’. We’ve got a new body that we’re celebrating. Yours. Mine. Every Body. Now that’s a Barre Body.
Do you see yourself reflected in Barre Body today? Tell us your story in the comments below or join the conversation on Instagram with #mybarrebody