How To Teach Barre Online
(Tips From Someone Who's Been Doing It For 4 Years!)

Teaching barre online sounds incredible, right? You get all the best parts of teaching barre - the flexible schedule, staying fit, making great playlists, helping people get stronger and more flexible - AND you don’t even have to leave the house!!

When we heard that Barre & Soul Academy alum Lara Foldvari taught barre online exclusively - zero in-person classes! - we had to know more.

Lara Foldvari

A bit about Lara: She’s 56 years old and has been dancing (classical ballet) since she was four years old. As an adult, she attempted the gym, did all the Buns of Steel videos, went to step aerobics and mat Pilates classes, but didn’t fall in love with anything until she did a Lotte Berk Method DVD about 20 years ago.

When Lara got laid off from her job at a pharmaceutical company in 2009, she was in a position to focus on fitness as a career. The rest is history!

Here’s Lara’s story of how she started teaching barre online.

How did you start teaching barre online?

I got my first barre certification from International Ballet Barre Fitness Association in 2015. It was the first online training that I knew of. In-person trainings were out of my price range and would have involved more travel than I was prepared to do.

Since that first training, I’ve completed my personal training with ACE, aqua and senior fitness specialties, and numerous barre trainings, including Barre & Soul Academy, Barre Intensity, Barre Above, The London Method, The Dailey Method, and Physique57.

What led to you moving your barre classes online and out of the studio?

I had been teaching in a studio from 2009 until March 14, 2020, but went online on March 16, 2020 “for two weeks” during Covid. We all know how long those two weeks ended up being….

Even though I built a barre studio above my garage to accommodate my students when things opened up in the summer, they were hooked on the livestream classes.

In 2022 I moved my Barre Over Garage to my new home in Florida and called it Barre On the Go (to keep the BOG acronym). It’s been wonderful to keep my student-friends who have been with me for over ten years.

What’s your tech and studio setup?

When I was in my studio over my garage, I did sometimes have in-person clients, so the classes were hybrid. I had a large speaker and a TV screen and my laptop hooked up to a soundboard and wireless headset microphone.

Things are more simple now that I teach out of my living room. My laptop is about ten feet from where my barre and mat are. I use Zoom and have the settings to use computer audio for my Spotify music. I also have a small speaker connected by Bluetooth to my laptop so that I can hear the music. My mic is a Rode Wireless Go II. Class participants can hear both me and the music very clearly. I have an external web camera and ring light as well.

Since I teach in my living room, I have a screen to hide as much of my living space as I can. I do have a 3.5 foot long barre attached to one wall.

Teaching Barre Online

I teach four classes a week - three evenings and Saturday morning. There are an average of seven students in each class with some classes being smaller and some larger. My Saturday class attracts students from around the country more so than my weeknight classes that remain more the core group that I started with. I have twenty-something regulars.

How do you market your online barre classes?

My marketing has been word of mouth more than anything. I do have an Instagram account which has attracted some new students. Other new students have found me from Google searches.

Admittedly, branding is my weakest point still. My biggest tip is to keep it real; don’t try to be anyone other than yourself. Being genuine is your brand!

Luckily, my income has remained the same from teaching in person to online.

What are the challenges of teaching barre online?

The biggest challenge to teaching online is technology. Sometimes, no matter how prepared you are, the internet goes out, or a microphone doesn’t charge, or Spotify crashes.

I used to have a problem with no-shows, but since I started a no-show policy (charging $10 for no-shows), that has been eliminated.

How do you build community if the class is online?

I want people to feel as though they are in a live class. The zoom session starts 10-15 minutes early so that people can log in and we can talk about anything going on with them, catch up, share news, and prepare props for class. My laptop is hooked up to my 65-inch TV, so I can “walk the room” and offer suggestions on form and give positive feedback.

After class, I check in with everyone to see how their experience was- music, exercises, sound. We usually “stay after class” another 5-10 minutes, just like we would if at a studio.

I’m surprised by how connected we can still feel, even though we are meeting online. More seasoned students welcome new students. Old friends love seeing each other if one has been away. It feels very real.

I record all of my classes for students, but don’t do any that are pre-recorded without first being a livestream class. I really try to make the livestream classes feel LIVE. Greet everyone. Use their names. Tell stories. Give general corrections and individualized praise. I aim to create a class where the biggest difference is the convenience of not needing to leave the house for class.

Teaching Barre Online

What are your best tips to get started teaching barre online?

I wish I had known more about technology when I started. Those first few weeks of online classes were rough! I can’t believe that everyone hung in there with me!

If you want to take your teaching online, I’d recommend NOT over-spending on equipment, but do invest in a good wireless microphone. And go the extra mile to create an online space that feels like an in-studio experience.

Thanks so much for sharing your story, Lara! And if you’d like to get your barre teacher certification and get started teaching - online, in-person, or both! - you can learn more about our online certification program here!