Raising the Barre

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Laguna Barre main-credit Gemma Totten
Michelle Anderson, owner of the new Laguna Barre studio | Photo by Gemma Totten

Michelle Anderson, owner of Laguna Barre, explains why these specialized workouts have taken the fitness world by storm and what to expect when you visit her new studio.

By Jessie Dax-Setkus


Strength training is all the rage these days and barre studios are starting to pop up pretty much everywhere. If you were ever curious about this popular fitness trend, Laguna Barre is a great place to get started. Opened in April, it offers a welcoming setting for everyone from beginners to experts who have been mastering the workout for years. Here, Laguna Barre owner Michelle Anderson—who has been part of the fitness industry for more than 10 years—gives us a rundown of what to expect as a first-timer of the class and why it’s one of the most fun workouts in the fitness world right now.


Laguna Beach Magazine: How did you discover barre?

Michelle Anderson: My fitness career began in 2012 by getting certified to teach hot yoga.  While I loved teaching that, I found barre soon after and became certified by a professional ballerina, in a barre method with a very strong focus on form, posture, safety and isolated movements. This aligned perfectly with my competitive dance training. Barre became my passion, not only to teach but to do. I truly enjoy sharing my love for barre with others.


Can you describe what a barre class is?

MA: Laguna Barre is a combination of ballet, Pilates and yoga. … We use different techniques that come from the ballet world, in addition to our extreme focus on form and posture, making sure you safely execute each move. I always say the Laguna Barre method is a 60-minute abdominal and posture class, along with working the rest of the body. That’s where Pilates comes into play—we’re always concentrating on keeping the abdominals engaged and elongating the body through each exercise. With all of that, it’s important to remember to breathe. Breathwork through[out] class is what makes movements more fluid and brings your focus to the exercise.

Laguna Barre class
A Laguna Barre class

What kind of workout does a class provide?

MA: You will get a full-body workout from Laguna Barre. We use a variety of props and will work with high repetitions until [you reach] muscle fatigue. The goal is to “find the shake.” The most important part included in our method is the stretching: We will fire up a muscle group and then stretch in order to achieve long, lean lines.


What advice would you give a first-timer?

MA: Arrive five to 10 minutes early so I can show you around the studio and answer any questions. If you have any injuries, we can go over them prior to class. I create an extremely welcoming and comfortable community in my studio and I give modifications through[out] the entire class for all levels. Don’t be afraid to try something new.


Why do you think barre is so popular right now?

MA: Barre workouts are meant to be very low impact. I think that’s why it’s so popular—it allows everyone at any age to partake in class. It’s a challenge for all ages, whether you’re 22 or 85. Plus, it’s not only very challenging but [also very] fun. The best part [is] you feel great when you leave. Nothing should ache or feel painful. You might be quivering a little, but you’ll feel amazing and accomplished.


What makes barre fun?

MA: The music and the energy of the instructor. I love that barre is specifically taught to the beat of the music. It makes the vibe … so much fun.

Full Stretch

Combine elements of ballet, Pilates and yoga with some of the best equipment from nearby stores.

Pack all of your essentials in this sporty Nike GYM CLUB DUFFEL BAG, which fits everything from your shoes and gym clothing to a water bottle with ease, $42, at Dick’s Sporting Goods, Newport Beach. (949-640-1107; dickssportinggoods.com)
Laguna Barre GRIP SOCKS
Ensure your feet don’t slip all over the floor during your workout with the comfortable Pointe Studio GRIP SOCKS, which come in many different stylish colors/patterns and can be purchased right at the studio, from $14, at Laguna Barre. (949-415-8995; lagunabarre.com)
24-ounce wide mouth bottle Hydro Flask
There’s no better reusable water bottle than a Hydro Flask to keep your water ice-cold throughout your entire workout; opt for the 24-OUNCE WIDE MOUTH BOTTLE WITH STRAW LID to make sipping easier while getting a barre workout in, $45, at Hobie Surf Shop. (949-497-3304; hobiesurfshop.com)
Work out hard while looking good in the CLASSIC LEOPARD LEGGINGS, designed by a brand that started here in town for shoppers to wear pretty much anywhere—whether you are working out or on the go, $98, online at Goldsheep Clothing. (714-884-3668;
Attire that hugs your body is ideal for barre and the CUTOUT TOP offers a quick-dry, breathable material with light padding, a stylish slit and flattering style, $38, at 2bella. (949-497-4777; 2bella.com)
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