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Meet Amanda Herman, Bar Method Instructor Extraordinaire

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While it's been established that the Bar Method is no ballet Zumba, the fact remains that most instructors are coming from a dance background. But that doesn't mean students need to. One of the talented ladies leading class at the Boston and Hingham studios is Amanda Herman—a life-long dancer with experience on the courts of University of Southern California and the Boston Celtics. Herman took a break from her wildly hectic schedule shuttling around New England and beyond to discuss how many hours a week she practices, the skills she's developed in each position, and how the sports scene is different between Boston and her hometown, Los Angeles.

How does the Boston sports scene compare to the California one?
I feel like there is no comparison to the Boston sports fan. They're so passionate and diehard. If you don't like Boston sports you're deemed weird. Moving here it was a great way to make friends.

How does the fitness scene compare?
The first time I did Bar Method was actually in California and I thought "I wish we had something like this in Boston." I saw online that they were auditioning teachers. It was absolute luck. It's so popular in LA, cycling too. I'm glad there are more of these boutique studios cropping up in Boston. It's such a way of life in California. Obviously it's different coming to a studio like this rather than a gym.

Were there any highlights of the rigorous training program to become a teacher?
I think it was challenging for myself and the other two instructors I went through it with. We had never really done Bar Method before. Our main training was also during the Celtics playoffs in 2011, and I just remember sitting in the locker room trying to memorize body parts and specific muscles. I'm glad the program is long. By the time I got through I felt comfortable with the material, in the studio, with the clients. It's nice to build a relationship with your clientele way before you're even on the teaching schedule.

What's your favorite music to play during class?
All of our music comes from corporate. We have specific playlists that are catered to the exercise and tempo. Every detail is looked at when it comes to the music.

Are there any choreographed elements to the class or is it just isometric movements?
There's definitely a flow of how it's put together, which is fun for me as a dancer, to think of a cohesive theme for the class. It's one of the challenges of being a teacher. I teach every day, sometimes the same time, so we think of new ideas to make sure nobody gets bored.

Is it hard to juggle teaching every day and dancing for the Celtics?
Sometimes it is. McKenzie and Sarah are great about my schedule, they know it better than I do. Every day is a little bit different for me, which is nice. What's my schedule? When am I teaching? Where am I teaching?

How is the Hingham vibe different from the Boston studio?
The biggest thing for me was that there is childcare in Hingham. In the morning in Boston we have a very specific crowd—same people, same time everyday before they go to work. In Hingham, especially since we're so new, it's moms saying "It's nice to have just an hour where someone is watching my kid." Everyone knows each other, it's a small town.

Is it the kind of workout where you'll totally crash in the middle of the day after exercising in the morning?
Some people come every day and 6am, others at 6pm. I take a different class every day. It's a cardio workout, though I personally don't sweat a ton. I can go in there and then go straight to a promotional event.

How many hours do you dance in a week?
We have two Celtics practices a week, so that's about five hours. Then we usually have about two or three games a week. We get to those three hours early and have a full practice on the court before the game. It probably totals six hours on game days.

So you're probably dancing 30 hours or something. That's insane!
Yeah I'm on my feet a lot. [Laughs] I'm lucky I have two jobs that are so connected. I work out nonstop.

If you weren't dancing all day, what would you be doing?
I went to school for broadcast journalism and film, so at some point I do want to pursue something in sports media. Bar Method has helped a lot with speaking in front of a crowd, thinking on my feet, changing things on the fly.

What is more strenuous, an hour of Celtics practice or an hour of Bar Method?
They're very different. Celtics is a lot of short bursts of intense cardio. We learn routines quickly and run them full out over and over again. With Bar Method it's an hour of cardio but it's more strengthening. We work out all on our own, and I was missing the strengthening. I've been dancing my whole life, when I go to the gym I don't really know what to do. So now it's about building muscle definition with Bar Method.

Are there any skills that you've transferred from one job to the other that have improved your work?
I'm a lot stronger of a dancer. I can get through routines much more easily now. And so much of my job is looking good, so being more toned and improving my posture have been good.

And I would imagine that teamwork skills from the Celtics would be useful in teaching.
Yes! And it's also about encouraging students every day to make them feel better—that's something I take with me to the Celtics.

We've gotta ask: Where do you like to shop in Boston?
I spend so much time on Newbury Street. I really like Bobbles & Lace, Pinkyotto, LIT...all those smaller ones. I feel like if you're going to an event and need a dress the salesgirls are really nice there. I'm so clueless, I live in lululemon pants, so they always help me.

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