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Dancer-developed nutrition product not just another bar

A nutrition bar developed by two professional dancers could help young dancers accomplish way more than a triple pirouette.

I’ve always considered myself a dancer. I practiced classical ballet for twelve years, majored in Kinesiology at college, and danced professionally in New York City until eventually moving to Colorado. So naturally, I was ecstatic to learn of a nutrition bar launched by two professional ballet dancers, Julia Erickson and Aaron Ingley, in March 2011.

Aptly named Barre, the product boasts an impressive ingredient list, including hemp seed, ground flax seed, brown rice protein, and even spirulina. Calories hover around 200, and protein tops out at 7 grams. Sugars are slightly high (around 15 grams) but it comes from better-for-you sources like dates and agave nectar.

Barre is vegan and contains no common allergens like soy or wheat (a gluten-free certification is in the works). The product is currently available at most Mid-Atlantic Whole Foods Stores, along with about 160 dance and health/wellness studios and dance shops.

I contacted the company and can hardly wait for samples of these beauties to arrive at my desk.

A niche nutrition product with greater potential

I’ll admit that I initially cringed when I saw photos of the product, however. It’s apparent that Barre markets to a very specific demographic: mostly tweens or teenage girls who are gung ho about ballet. (I’m sure professionals like it too, but the percentage of kids involved in dance who grow up to become professionals is slim.)

Flavor names like Black Swan Chocolate Berry, Pirouette Cinnamon Pecan, and Spirulina Ballerina render it hard to imagine die-hard male athletes being attracted to a product focused on such an exclusive vocation. And Barre’s pale crimson packaging looks eerily similar to the ones that hold pink tights—in fact; they may have used the same font.

But after mulling over it, I started to warm up to the company. I haven’t actually tried the bars so I’m not qualified to comment on their taste, but Barre has potential to help young dancers accomplish way more than a triple pirouette.

Ballerinas are particularly prone to unhealthy (read: eating disorder) habits. From experience, it takes rock solid confidence to stare at yourself in a skintight leotard for hours and not feel self-conscious about your body.

Back in my pointe shoe days, I knew girls who had nothing but diet coke, a few pieces of candy, and a handful of spinach for the entire day. Barre is a product chock-full of health food that a younger girl would actually covet. Sheesh, it even has a picture of a ballerina on it.

Barre’s business model shaves their clientele to a small and specific population, but it’s a group that could arguably need health-focused nutrition the most.

What do you think about niche-specific nutrition products such as Barre? Share in the comments.

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