By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Grown-up little girls who miss their dance classes and grown-up little girls who never got to take ballet can both take heart. There is a new craze sweeping the nation, and it has come to Norman.
Former dance instructor Whitney (Stroud) Young is teaching a cardio approach to ballet with touches of yoga and Pilates in a BeyondBarre class available at Fusion Fitness and Yoga, 323 E. Main St. in downtown Norman.
“I’m from Norman,” Young said. “I grew up here. I grew up dancing at a dance studio that no longer exists, Paula Silva’s.”
Young participated in pageants and dance conventions. She was also on the Norman North Pom squad and took the high school modern dance class.
“It was a lot of fun,” Young said of the modern dance class, which had a mixture of students with varying talents, training and abilities. “We all fed off each other.”
Her junior year, she was selected for early entry with Denise Vale in the University of Oklahoma modern dance program. During college, Young was on the OU pom squad and continued to study ballet and modern dance at OU under “a really great instructor,” Young said.
Young was an instructor at Modern Dance Arts for 10 years, where she taught a variety of classes, including hip-hop, modern and ballet.
“I’m extremely competitive,” she said.
She also worked in the corporate world. She married husband, Cameron Young, in 2011 and last year, they started their family.
“I toyed around with what I was going to do with dance because I can’t live without it,” she said.
Young found a new chapter in the book of her life when she tried to answer the question, “How does a 30-year-old get back in shape after motherhood?”
When she discovered BeyondBarre, she realized that the dynamic exercise program would appeal to dancers, but it would also appeal to a “whole new audience.”
While Young still teaches master classes and choreography for dance competition, she is currently teaching several BeyondBarre classes at Fusion Fitness.
“I fell in love with BeyondBarre in the way they’re teaching the body alignment,” she said.
There are also modifications for people with injuries.
“It’s not really big here yet,” she said. “I know there’s other barre classes, but there’s not any like this.”
BeyondBarre was designed by gymnast Colleen Ketchum and actor dancer Jennifer Lamb Hewitt. Both are grounded in Pilates.
The BeyondBarre exercise program combines elements of cardio with classical ballet barre exercises that strengthen and develop long, lean muscles. The workout includes upper-body sculpting and an abdominal workout.
There’s also an aerobic section with glide boards. Right now, Young teaches the aerobic section without the special boards. The movement resembles speed skating in feel. She plans to purchase the special glide boards soon.
In the meantime, her classes are slowly drawing clients and gaining in popularity.
“I’m definitely doing it from the ground up,” she said.
For a complete schedule, find Whitney Young’s classes on Facebook at BeyondBarrewithWhitneyYoung or call 474-9448.