Angie Gunner's Intent to Raise the Barre
So you think you can dance? Angie Gunner thinks you can, too, and more specifically believes that you should be doing it on a regular basis as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Gunner operates American Barre Technique. ABT is a specialized form of exercise and fitness that combines traditional dance exercises with movements similar to those used in Pilates and yoga. It’s also considered a form of cross-training.
A barre workout consists of isometric movements followed by stretching, with a focus on producing long muscles and increasing flexibility. The ballet barre is used for balance. Light weights are often incorporated into the workouts, but for the most part one’s own body weight is relied upon to put the needed stress on various muscles.
And it is all set to music.
“Traditional ballet classes use classical music,” Gunner said. “I like to play music at the louder end of the spectrum. I think it’s a good motivating tool.”
Gunner is recognized as an influencer when it comes to the barre technique. She and her sister and business partner Hillery recently were featured on the cover of Train For Her magazine.
“It’s becoming very popular because it is low impact,” Gunner said. “It’s funny because some men are intimidated when it comes to taking a barre class because they think it’s just for women. While you don’t lift heavy weights, it’s still a hard workout. I’ve had men take the class and they said it was a really good workout.”
Among the benefits associated with barre training is that there is little if any stress put on the joints, and the classes are set up to accommodate people at all levels of fitness. These group fitness classes can provide a full-body workout while burning fat and getting a cardio workout.
Gunner received her certification from ISSA as a fitness trainer in 2015 and also is certified to teach classical ballet and is a certified barre instructor. She says that dancing is “in her blood,” as her mother was a competitive dancer who passed her passion on to her daughters.
“I pretty much wanted to do whatever my big sister was doing,” Gunner said. “So when my mom put my sister in dance I wanted to be a dancer, too. I started when I was about three years old. I loved it. But I didn’t become a serious dancer until my early teens, when I developed a passion for ballet.”
It was then that Gunner began competing in ballet and decided she would pursue a career as a ballet dancer. She traveled to Europe for advanced training and was invited to take part in a three year program with the famed Bolshoi Ballet in Russia.
“At that point I had to decide if I was going to do that or attend college,” Gunner said. “I decided to put ballet on the back burner. I wonder what it would have been like to be a part of that program, but I don’t regret it. I am happy where I am and how things have worked out.”
Gunner continued to dance as a way to exercise and stay in shape. After college, when deciding what direction she wanted her career to go, she realized that dance and fitness went hand in hand. So she decided to pursue a career in fitness, with ballet movements and exercises at the core of what she would be teaching in group fitness classes.
Gunner’s business has evolved to the point that her classes are strictly online now. To do the workout at home, a ballet barre can be replaced by the back of a chair or the back of a couch. Her company also has released a video, “Ballet Body,” that invites viewers to “Meet us at the barre.”
Gunner said more videos are in the works as she continues to extol the exercise benefits of a barre workout as part of a healthy lifestyle.
“Every now and then my sister and I will put on a free community barre class in the park,” Gunner said. “We call it ‘Open barre.’ We invite people to come out and try it out.”
Those who elect to take part will be dancing with the (barre) stars.
If you have a love for fitness and instructing others, get started on your journey to become a Group Fitness Specialist with the ISSA’s Group Fitness Certification.