Lotte Berk & The History of Barre


A German dancer, Lotte Berk fled the Nazi’s in the 1930’s to London where she began her fitness studio. After suffering a back injury, Lotte found herself unable to continue dancing. She then combined her ballet bar exercises with rehabilitation to create a rigorous and unique set of total body routines. Lotte taught classes in her West End basement. 

Her original routine combined strength-training, dance, orthopedic back exercises, and Hatha yoga into one hour, mind-body workouts to fab music and inspirational cooldowns.

This system is the foundation of all modern, popular and franchised barre workouts today.


Lydia was an American who fell in love with Lotte’s technique. Lydia purchased the rights to Lotte’s name and brought “Lotte Berk Method” studios to New York in 1971.


Fred & Elisabeth were studio managers at Lydia Bach’s studio in NYC. Together they founded Exhale Spa, a yoga and

barre studio with locations worldwide.


Andrea was mentore

d by Fred and Elisabeth at Exhale Spa. She became both a studio manager and a teacher trainer. Andrea went on to open her own studio, called Barre & Soul. Barre & Soul now has five locations in both NH and MA. Andrea has also studied under the instruction of Lotte’s only daughter, Ester Fairfax in England.

Andrea Isabell Lucas, founder of Barre & Soul and Barre Guild Academy

Ester Fairfax, daughter of Lotte Berk


Andrea Lucas founded the Barre Guild Academy based on the Lotte Berk methodology.  This is where I come into the picture! I completed my barre training with Andrea at the Barre Guild Academy in 2019. You can read more about that here.

Other spin-offs of the Lotte Berk Method include Pure Barre, Physique 57, Dailey Method, Fluidity, Barre 3 and The Barre Method.

I hope to continue sharing Lotte’s technique in my classes and to teach barre in a safe and effective manner that represents all of the history and rigor it was originally designed to encompass.



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© 2020 Danielle Havens.