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CaBarret Brings Burlesque to the Barre

Raquel Zaldivar

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Barre workouts? A hot thing right now in Miami. Dance workouts? We're practically the capital. Mix them both together, and you could be looking at the nation's next big thing. Enter onto the dance floor CaBarret, a workout that infuses the sculpting and toning of a barre workout, along with the sensual cardio of burlesque dancing. Yes, burlesque.

"We spend the first half hour working on the barre and then a half hour working on cardio burlesque dance," says CaBarret founder, Nicole LaBonde. "It sets it apart from those barre classes that are missing the cardio and coordination and dance aspect, and it sets it apart from the dance classes that are missing the training and toning elements."

When Nicole moved to Miami from Philadelphia a few year's back, she was in a bit of a workout rut. "I was having trouble finding adult dance classes that weren't Zumba or hip hop. If you know me, you know I'm a ballerina. I'm not going to a hip hop class, it's just not my thing."

Barre wasn't her thing either. "I went to a bar class and I was like, what the heck is this? This has absolutely nothing to do with the barre."

What was a classically trained ballerina with a dance degree and theater experience to do? "I was looking for a class that I wanted to take and through a process of trial and error, I created one of my own."

I went to a bar class and I was like, what the heck is this? This has absolutely nothing to do with the barre.

Unlike those high velocity dance workouts like Zumba, Vixen Workout, and pole dancing where you throw your cares (and hips) to the wind, CaBarret has more of a dance class feel, where an instructor goes through the moves with you step by step, perfecting routines before the hour is up. The moves are sexy in their subtlety- asses are popped, not pumped; legs are flicked, not spread open on a pole.

Currently, Nicole hosts a free CaBarret class at FIU every Thursday, but since launching in 2013, she's quickly expanded her class offerings to include a Showgirl Shape Class at Goddess Studio in Fort Lauderdale (which is all dance), and a Ballerina Bodywork class. When we asked her if she saw a studio opening in her future, she responded positively, however her main project for 2015 is growing her teacher training program and getting it all around the country. "Feedback from teachers is that it's so different from everything out there," she mentions. While sexy workouts have become engrained in Miami's fabric, they're a new thing at many other places, like her hometown, Philly.

Retreats are a new thing for CaBarret too. While Nicole has long been infusing bachelorette, birthday, and even divorce parties with dance-focused CaBarret routines with her burlesque dance troop, Divas and Dolls (of which she's a founding member), retreats are a new thing for her. She says, they're a great way to boost up morales. "We really focus on the character and 'being seen' aspect of burlesque, because that's really what burlesque is all about. Being seen in your own body. A lot of us have a very uncomfortable in our own bodies, and that discomfort that we have with our bodies translates into relationships we have with people… we work a lot on getting through body issues."

CaBarret is, at its heart, a workout for ballerinas, or women looking to look like one. It differs in a traditional ballet class in that there's a certain sex appeal, but the focus is still on sculpting your body and, most importantly, making sure you're comfortable with it. It's the kind of workout that pushes you to let down your hair, but always keep your poise.