Shape Up Sisters’ class a ‘fusion of different kinds of exercises’

Published 3:24 pm Saturday, January 9, 2021

No leotards or tutus are required for the barre classes offered at Shape Up Sisters, but the results one can get from working out like a ballerina can make a difference.

This past October, Shape Up Sisters began offering barre classes, which Cheryl Van Norman, the instructor of the class, described as “a fusion of different kinds of exercises.”

“You have weight training and dance, which I love,” Van Norman said.

Barre classes became popular in 2005 and are ballet based. They focus on small movements that can benefit core muscle groups and flexibility, while also getting a little cardio going.

“Similarly to exercises performed by dancers, barre classes target muscles that help tone and lengthen and strengthen our bodies,” Van Norman said.

Van Norman has taught Zumba classes for the past five years at Shape Up Sisters, and compared barre classes to the “syntergy” classes — a combination of yoga and pilates — that were once offered at the gym.

Like the “syntergy” class, barre classes, she said, move at a faster pace.

“What I loved about those classes was the upbeat tempo that accompanied yoga-type moves,” she said.

Van Norman said she discovered barre on the Internet when the country was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I started getting online and found barre and I thought, ‘I love this.’”

So she became certified and now teaches barre classes each Thursday at 4:15 p.m. at Shape Up Sisters.

Shape Up Sisters owner Linda Fondren said she was aware of barre, but it is wasn’t until Van Norman approached her about barre classes that it was added to the gym’s other offerings.

“It is a low-impact class and women that have taken the class say they love it because you target those hard to reach areas,” Fondren said.

Van Norman said barre was an instant hit.

“Yes, everybody has really taken to it,” Van Norman said. “It is a lot of fun and easier to do than some people think.

Van Norman said during the barre classes, in which a chair is used, she will give instruction on what to do while also showing class members the moves.

Barre classes, Van Norman said, can benefit all age groups, but it is especially helpful for those who are aging.

“For older women, it targets the whole body and it builds strength in the legs and arms,” she said.

This could be advantageous if you were to fall, Van Norman said, because in building up these muscles, you would be able to get yourself back up.

Fondren encouraged women to take barre classes.

“This is what you add in addition to classes you already take and it is good for those who are new to fitness,” she said. “Barre classes offer new ways for women looking for a new way to challenge their bodies.”

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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