The Lotte Berk Exercise Method

The original ballet barre method

Lotte Berk was a modern dancer who performed in Berlin in the 1930s. She came to England in the 30’s, where she then danced with, amoung others, the Ballet Rambert. After an injury that prevented her from dancing, she designed her exercises with the help of an osteopath and yoga to keep her taut dancer’s figure, and promote core fitness while protecting the back. She had a small studio in Manchester Street in London where she had a cult following in the swinging 60s and 70s, including Joan Collins, Edina Ronay, Britt Ekland, Yasmin le Bon, Shirley Conran and many more. Her clients groaned their way to lean, taut contours via her exercise program of tiny muscle movements. She is famously remembered for carrying a whip in the studio with which she coaxed her students to greater endeavours.

Dancers Exercises and Core strength

The Lotte Berk technique, using ballet barres and dancers exercises, became an integral part of the 60s and 70s culture, her classes bristling with celebrities and socialites.  In the 60s Vidal Sassoon took care of the hair, Mary Quant the clothes and Lotte Berk the body.  Her system has proven results, and is still going strong, especially in America where it has been much copied – Callanetics was inspired by Lotte Berk, as are the UK barre exercise methods.  Lotte Berk was a contemporary of Joseph Pilates, and like him she had her roots in dance and developed her exercises to strengthen the core muscles.  Like Pilates, Lotte Berk focuses on core stability around the pelvis and lower back,  but in addition it includes ballet style barre work and great stretches like yoga.  The classes combine dance and yoga, the exercises strengthen and flatten the stomach muscles, tone and shape thighs and bottom, improve mobility and flexibility, and are very good for people with back problems.

Pre and Post Natal

The exercises are very good and safe during pregnancy, and especially beneficial afterwards to recover your pre-baby figure. Suitable for all ages.

Classes in East Sussex

Fiona Vestentoft is a qualifed instructor, who gives small group classes set to music in her lovely dance studio in Dallington, East Sussex, mid way between Heathfield and Battle and close to Woods Corner – in the heart of 1066 country.  While there is no longer a whip in the studio, and the floor is luxuriously carpeted, make no mistake that you will get a fantastic workout, and all without breaking sweat.

After a good warm up, leg exercises are done at the ballet barre, followed by core strength work on the carpet, and then a lovely stretch and warm down.