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“The Bar Method is based on the technique of Lotte Berk, a German dancer who fled the Nazi’s in the late 1930’s and came to London with her British husband. 

After injuring her back, Lotte got the idea of combining her ballet bar routines with her rehabilitative therapy to form an exercise system.  In 1959 she opened The Lotte Berk Studio in her West End basement.   There, she sculpted the bodies of her students, among them Brooke Shields, Joan Collins and Brit Ekland.

One of her students, an American named Lydia Bach, was so impressed with the technique that she bought the rights to Lotte’s name and in 1971 opened The Lotte Berk Method exercise studio in Manhattan. 

Ten years later, two sisters, Burr Leonard and Mimi Fleischman took their first Lotte Berk Method class and also fell in love with the technique.  In 1991, Burr along with her new husband Carl Diehl bought a license to operate Lotte Berk Method studios in Southern Connecticut. 

Burr spent a year studying and teaching The Lotte Berk Method at the Manhattan studio, then opened her first Lotte Berk exercise studio in Greenwich, Connecticut. 

Immediately, Burr noticed that some of her clients’ knees, backs and shoulders were not responding well to the exercises and sought the help of a physical therapist.  Under his guidance she reworked the sculpting exercises so that they would target students’ muscles without impacting their joints.

Since then, Burr and Carl have franchised more than 25 Bar Method exercise studios in California, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois and Washington.  They divide their time between guiding their franchisees and producing Bar Method media products...”

                                                                                   “Lotte Berk Origins,”

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Barre Centre
History of Barre Method
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