There’s something different about The Dailey Method.
I first heard about it from a girlfriend who lives in San Francisco. Like me she’s tried various other barre fitness regimes, including Pure Barre and The Bar Method, so I assumed her passion for The Dailey Method had to do with proximity or convenient class times. Yet when I asked her what was unique about this barre studio, she was more than happy to explain. She told me that she had gone to University of California San Francisco (UCSF) runner’s clinic around the same time she discovered The Dailey Method in her neighborhood. At the clinic she learned that all the exercises UCSF clinician’s recommended to improve her running and prevent injury were the same ones she had just started doing at The Dailey Method. I was impressed and intrigued. She promised she’d take me to a class next time I was in San Francisco, but I couldn’t wait for a road trip north. I scoured the net for Dailey Method locations in Los Angeles and happily found that one had recently opened up in Venice. I signed up immediately and wondered, would doing it “Dailey” be for me?
What is The Dailey Method?
The Dailey Method was founded by Jill Dailey of San Francisco in 2000. According to the method’s website, this regime differs from other barre based workouts in that it strives to provide a system of movements that support client’s fitness goals while potentially preventing injuries and supporting recovery for those that have them. Exercise science and continued research help the method to continuously improve so that clients get the safest and most effective instruction.
“Founded on kinesiology and core alignment principles, The Dailey Method® is a full body workout that combines ballet barre work, core conditioning, yoga, and orthopedic exercises designed to strengthen, tone, and lengthen the entire body to produce quick physical results and balance in the body.”
The Dailey Method offers a “hands-on-approach” to assure that clients are properly executing each movement. Words like “balance” and “grounding methods” are also used to distinguish The Dailey Method from competitors. Additionally, Jill Dailey, its founder, has an actual degree in kinesiology! What’s kinesiology, you ask? Wikipedia explains: “Kinesiology, also known as human kinetics, is the scientific study of human movement. Kinesiology addresses physiological, mechanical, and psychological mechanisms.”
The fact that the founder spent years studying the body, what works for it and what doesn’t, definitely excited me. Would The Dailey Method help alleviate some of the back pain I’d been experiencing from sitting at the computer writing all day? Would it provide the same results and challenges as the other awesome barre studious out there? I’ll admit I had high hopes after my girlfriend’s insistence that The Dailey Method had improved her running. So after acknowledging my biases and my high expectations, I headed to the studio.
The Dailey Method Venice
After two classes I can confidently answers YES! to the questions I posed above. I am heals high in love with The Dailey Method as taught at The Dailey Method Venice location and here’s why.
1. Location, location, LOCATION!
Because the address listed Abbot Kinney I assumed that I’d be entering the studio from the street. Gleefully, I was wrong. Rather than trying to fight for street parking with a coffee crazed hipster (Intelligentsia is The Dailey Method Venice’s neighbor), there is a whole world of parking behind the building which can be accessed by turning on Santa Clara Avenue OR California Avenue. If you do find yourself lucky enough to score a spot out front, just cut through the coffee shop and you’ll find The Dailey Method Venice next door. After class treat yourself to a delicious chai latte or stroll Abbot Kinney. You’ll be in the heart of Venice after all and can literally go from the Barre to the Bar in seconds. The Other Room and The Brig are just a block or so away, not to mention a bevy of yummy restaurants.
2. Smiles and Sunlight.
I almost wonder if the owners of this studio are Feng-Shui masters. They managed to transform a small basement-like room into a bright, warm, inviting, and SPACIOUS studio with high ceilings, keyed lockers, two bathrooms, and a loft for child care. Child care! (Moms have no excuse not to belly up to this barre!). The white rafters and California light spilling in are natural motivators. Best of all, you won’t encounter any snobbery at The Dailey Method Venice. Everyone I’ve met so far has been gracious and full of good energy. In fact, if they keep being so nice to me I might move in!
3. Hands-on = Never wrong.
During my first class with instructor Tenaya I noticed several things immediately that have made The Dailey Method stand out for ME. Tenaya adjusted every single participant throughout the entire 60-minute class. She was ALWAYS watching, adjusting, and instructing so that it almost felt like I was in a personal training session. I also noticed the use of a term I haven’t encountered at the barre – neutral spine. I’ve heard this used in Yoga, but most barre classes seem tuck obsessed. In my second session, Amie demonstrated. A neutral spine is one in which the back and hips are positioned naturally. I found this, along with tons of amazing, specific, and focused instruction to be refreshing. My body did too. My back pain really did lessen after just one class. No joke.
4. Sequence, stretching, and safety.
Because I haven’t studied Kinesiology like The Dailey Method’s founder, I’ll try my best to explain how totally awesome the entire program is. Yes, you get a killer workout, but there’s something about it that feels therapeutic. My thighs shook. I steamed up the mirror with my light perspiration during the flat back portion. But there were little adjustments made to each exercise in general and tailored adjustments made to me throughout class, during stretching too, that truly made the entire thing feel safer, just as they claim. In my second class I had the pleasure of sharing the barre with a pregnant woman. She was able to do 90% of the exercises without a problem.
The Overall Verdict
You won’t find any drill sergeants at The Dailey Method Venice which makes this an excellent workout for anyone recovering from injury or stepping up to the barre for the first time. But don’t expect it to be easy. You’ll be encouraged to push yourself, but in a way that works with your body instead of against it. Since I’m having surgery next week and will need to avoid the barre and the treadmill while I heal, I plan to sign-up for The Dailey Method Venice’s January Challenge with my doctor’s approval. I imagine I’ll feel like a barre beginner after that much time away (gulp). Regardless, I’ve already set a goal – 30 classes in 30 days! It looks like I will be doing it Dailey (or trying to) after all.
If you can’t make it to The Dailey Method near you, check out this DVD for a safe, but effective, Barre workout you can do from your living room: