Barre Food Bar

The Barre Story

Finding convenient, nutritious, and wholesome fuel for your body is a challenge for any athlete, but particularly for dancers. Often faced with long, physically demanding rehearsals with little time to eat, much less digest, dancers are forever on the quest for quick and light but tasty and nutrient dense calories. Enter Barre Real Food Bars.

These were the very circumstances in which Julia Erickson, Principal dancer with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, found herself while rehearsing for the role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. Dissatisfied with the energy bars on the market that often contain unidentifiable ingredients, Julia retreated to her own kitchen and developed an easy-to-consume, nutritious and delicious bar from real ingredients found in her own pantry.

Barre Real Food Bar Creators Julia Erickson and Aaron Ingley

Photo Courtesy of Barre Website

Favorite Quote from Julia: “Dance as though no one is watching you, Love as though you have never been hurt before.” Souza

In February of 2010, Julia created Barre-Real Food Bar with the nutritional needs of the elite athlete in mind and the desire to consume a whole food snack bar that would provide exceptional nutritional fuel. Like any good cook, she brought her creation to work and shared her creations with her colleagues, who just happen to also be elite athletes. Her friends in the studio and students at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School loved them and they quickly developed a following.

Julia knew she could fulfill a need in the market and enlisted the talent of her friend, former Pittsburgh Ballet dancer, and now business partner, Aaron Ingley.  Aaron, himself a dancer and cyclist, was all in. They began making large batches in their home kitchen and sold them to the PBT summer intensive students the summer of 2010. With that small success, they realized they could expand and so they did.

Favorite Quote from Aaron:
“Just Do It.” 

Today, Barre produces and distributes their health-minded snacks and performance products to over 250 stores and studios, including Whole Foods stores, nationally. They have expanded from the original bar flavor, Pirouette Cinnamon Pecan, created in their kitchen to include two more flavors, Black Swan Chocolate Berry and Ballerina Spirulina.

The bars are free of animal products, soy, wheat, and refined sugar. They are high in Omega-3s and contain trace minerals for electrolyte replacement, both important to refueling the athletic body. Their website includes a page just on the ingredients in their bars. I highly recommend visiting the ingredients page which is also a fabulous nutritional resource for dancers.

The rigorous physical demands of ballet for Julia and Aaron have been a sort-of catalyst for the creation of the bars in the kitchen. At the same time, they credit their ballet training as the best preparation for entrepreneurship. The same principles of hard work, self-confidence, and dedication can be applied to achieve success in both careers.

Listen to Part One of Julia Erickson and Aaron Ingley’s Stories

Barre Food Bars

Photo Credit: Marge Porter

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Dancer Answer: Question from an Aspiring Young Dancer

Q: From 4everyoungdancer-Once you start a career, does your passion for dance strengthen or weaken?

A: Julia & Aaron-Wholeheartedly we say it strengthens.  It’s all great – and it’s amazing. You are discovering your technique and your artistry.