Teacher Feature: Gina Harris

Taking a barre class with IBBFA-certified instructor Gina Harris is different from any other barre classes you’ve taken before. For starters, you may not be physically near her. She streams her classes online. But the real kicker? She’s on a boat.

Gina loves to travel just as much as she loves ballet-based fitness. Being a former dancer and barre enthusiast, Gina knew she wanted to become a certified barre instructor but was never in one place long enough to go to an in-person workshop. Then she found Barre Certification and we are so glad she did! Gina continues to travel and spread her philosophy of a “feel good” lifestyle everywhere she goes. We asked her a few questions about how she takes barre along for the ride.

What was your dance or fitness experience prior to getting barre certified?

I grew up dancing ballet and jazz. For ten years I spent more time in the studio than anywhere else! As many dancers do, I injured myself out of a career and after three years of physical therapy I decided to explore other avenues of fitness. I started running, strength training and fell in love with boxing! A boxing ballerina, can you imagine?!

Why do you love teaching barre?

Part of my rehab post-dance was barre. It was a safe place to regain physical strength and emotional courage after losing something I loved so much. For me, teaching barre is a way of giving back through an avenue that brought me so much joy!

What’s your favorite part of class– do you have a favorite exercise?

When my students yell “we’re shaking!” Haha! I like to mix the ballet exercises that I learned from years of training with high-intensity strength training for a “barre bootcamp” type of class. I love working the booty and am a huge fan of weighted leg presses at the barre. Who knew a three pound weight could build a perky tush?

How has barre impacted you and or your community?

No matter what has happened in my day or what mood I’m in, the second I walk in the door, I know I’ve got to show up. After a long day at work, my girls show up for themselves, they work their butts off and they give it their all. I have to give them my all. The energy that comes from so much dedication and positivity is priceless. I haven’t had a single class without cheering, laughter and a whole lot of sweat!

Tell us a little about your travels. Was choosing a certification program that is online and allows you to go at your pace important to your lifestyle?

Since 2010, I have been traveling on and off pretty regularly. I lived in France. I bought a sailboat and traveled over 10,000 miles from San Francisco to Fiji. I practiced meditation in Bali. I took a road-trip along the west coast. Since I’m hardly ever in one place, IBBFA’s online certification program couldn’t have been more practical for me! I was able to study on the plane, take my exams from a coffee shop in Portland and record my sample videos from Mexico. IBBFA made achieving a dream accessible to me in a way it otherwise wouldn’t be.

Any upcoming travels? How will you take barre along for the ride?

I am planning on heading back to Fiji for the summer where I will teach barre bootcamp classes via social media streaming from my sailboat! Anyone can benefit from a barre workout, no matter where they are!

Any current goals?

I work a lot to promote living a “feel good” life. Feeling good in your skin is so much more than eating healthy and working out. It’s a mindset– it’s dedication and acceptance. I’d love to organize workshops where I travel that help empower women to live a balanced, “feel good” life!

You can follow along with Gina’s travels and barre classes through her blog.

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