Lotte Berk (1913-2003) was a German dancer who, following a back injury, combined her Barre training with rehabilitation therapy.
In 1959 she opened her first studio, The Lotte Berk Method, on Manchester Street in London, which became very well-known among actresses and celebrities of the time.
In 1971 she inaugurated The Lotte Berk Method in Manhattan, with the encouragement of Lydia Bach, a celebrated American actress who had moved to London.
Her programme, very popular in the New York of the sixties and seventies, combines the Barre work typical of classical dance with specific exercises to strengthen the abdominal and back muscles.
Lotte’s innovative contribution was the creation of energetic lessons, the introduction of dance positions and exercises to fitness classes, the structuring of an all-female training protocol, which included the ever-current pelvic tilt.Later on, other teachers developed their own method using work at the Barre and in recent years this discipline has assumed a primary role in studio and gym classes.
Lotte’s work is now carried on by her daughter Esther Fairfax in her studio in Berkshire. Staying true to the original technique developed by her mother, Esther practises it, has taught it for 47 years and takes care of training and certifying new teachers. She is also the author of three books on the Lotte Berk Method.