There is nothing genteel about ballet. Ballet hurts. And ballet makes your arse look loads nicer. These are the things I’ve learned by taking barre classes at The Refinery.
Arse-related benefits aside, these classes are great for strength and tone and for generally feeling more graceful in your everyday life. No dance experience required, Sophie Ritchie’s Disco Barre and Coco Tomas’s Haus of Barre9 use the isometric holds and the controlled bends and lifts of ballet to target those atrophied too-much-time-on-Facebook muscles and make you feel a bit better in skinny jeans. I’ve been arabesque-ing around my kitchen ever since, albeit it in the pained, slightly-disabled way of someone whose hamstrings are in trauma. The other excellent thing about barre is it’s a legitimate excuse to wear leg warmers.
The Refinery is a really pleasant environment to be in. The studios are beautiful, calming spaces. The changing rooms are really clean and don’t make you worry about verucas. Debs at reception remembers your name and makes excellent coffee. Everywhere smells faintly of sandalwood. It’s cool, but it doesn’t make you feel like a gauche idiot.
Other highlights include Sophie Cohen’s Active Detox Flow yoga class which is totally life-affirming. Sophie is a wonderful, patient teacher with aspirational bendiness.
Plus, The Well Street Kitchen is just around the corner if you fancy some post-workout chocolate, pear and cardamom cake.
The Refinery offer a £5 introductory offer for new customers taking their first class.
The Refinery, 14 Collent Street, London, E9 6SG (020 7148 5990, www.therefinerye9.com)