July 07 2010
For years, when I was young and fit and free, I was a devotee of the Lotte Berk method of exercise. I went to classes several times a week and was occasionally taught by Lotte herself, a former modern ballet dancer who was an inspiring one-of-a-kind with a wicked sense of humour and a passion for helping women find confidence and strength through body-awareness and a leaner, fitter but supremely feminine shape. No one could shape hips and bottoms like Lotte. She built a whole world view and a community around her cult classes.
Having tried so many others, I still think it’s the best method. So, deciding finally to get a grip back on my fitness, I went to the Lotte Berk classes given by Lotte’s disciple, Angela (Lotte, pictured, died in 2003, aged 90). The classes take place in the bowels of the Lansdowne Club, just off Berkeley Square – convenient for post-Bond Street jewellery appointments.
It all came flooding back: the energising warm-up, the pelvic tilt to protect and strengthen the back, the deliberate, precise, sometimes excruciating movements targeting specific areas: upper arms, inner and outer thighs, bottom, and – ouch – stomach. Also, I remembered the camaraderie of the classes, and the sense of fun. Super-challenging and never boring, in my view there’s still nothing like it.