Meet The Health Nut: Marysa Dalton

By Marilynn McLachlan
21st Jul 2016

With health being the new wealth, Auckland's health and wellness scene is buzzing and we are loving it!  

From the juice cleanse companies to the healthy cafes, from the wellness warriors to the hip yoga studios sprouting up all over town, Auckland has got it going on. To gain an insight into all this health magic, we’re chatting to Auckland’s healthiest cool cats who will share their tips, tricks and a whole lot of inspo to help you live your healthiest life ever. Yesss!

This week we chatted to Marysa Dalton, who is best known for making barre a thing in our city. She is the founder of Ponsonby's BarreFigure and will be offering class in the recently opened True food and yoga. 

Marysa talks to The Urban List about starting dancing career, the best part of her career and shares her favourite local spots. 

Marysa, tell us a bit about yourself! 

I’m 34 years old, and have been dancing and active my whole life. I was a professional ballerina in the Royal New Zealand Ballet, West Australian Ballet and in NYC for over 10 years. I had a two-year stint working for the New Zealand Mission at the United Nations, but realised my real love was teaching Pilates and barre. I’m recently married, love exploring the beaches and walks around Auckland and sharing the benefits of Barrefigure with everyone.

What spurred you on to start your business? 

I moved to NYC in 2008 to pursue my dancing career. I was also nannying for a family and whilst in the Hamptons, the mother invited me to a barre class with her. I was a professional dancer and thought I’ve got this. I’ve never been so wrong—yet absolutely loved the class! I knew in that instant, when I retired this was what I wanted to do and bring back to New Zealand. Fast forward four years living in NYC and two years in London teaching barre to the elite and famous and I knew the time was right to set up my own barre studio in NZ and Barrefigure was born in September 2014.

Have you always been fit and healthy? 

Yes, as a kid I was into all sports including tennis, skiing, swimming, netball and of course ballet. I was a professional ballet dancer in the Royal New Zealand Ballet for seven years before dancing in Australia and NYC. At times in my career I was very slender as we were dancing 10+ hours a day and eating extremely healthy. I don’t stress about it like I use to and I’m very lucky I love keeping active and exercise is a natural part of my routine and life.

What’s a regular day look like? 

I either teach all three morning classes or three evening classes.  It’s a 5.30am wake up to teach at 6.15am. I grab a coffee and bite to eat at Ripe between classes. I reply to all the emails, do all the marketing, social media and everything else with running a business. I like to keep busy so it suits me. I try to get to two-three barre classes a week. It’s valuable to do classes so I can keep choreography up-to-date and so I can also feel the burn like clients! If I’m teaching in the evening, my husband and I don’t eat dinner until 9pm and I’m in bed by 11pm each night. I work six days a week and have Sundays off from teaching.

Best part of your job? 

Making clients feel great in their bodies which translates to being more confident in their day-to-day lives. Clients often tell me how they feel stronger, fitter, leaner and more confident than they ever have in their lives, but also more robust emotionally and spiritually. Best job ever!

Favourite form of exercise? 

Barre of course! As I’m also five months pregnant, barre is perfect for expectant mothers as it is low impact and you can continue right up until birth with a few modifications. I also enjoy a relaxing yin yoga class on Sunday (we have one at 4.30pm which is extremely popular) and is the perfect way to round off the weekend. In summer, I love to go for long bush walks and explore Auckland.

Best place to get a healthy treat in Auckland 

In my neighbourhood, I love a healthy smoothie or juice from Ceres Fresh Market in Ponsonby Central. The Raw Kitchen also do this amazing raw bruschetta and great slices when I need a healthy sugar fix. Barrefigure are also offering classes at the recently opened True food and yoga in Okaku Bay,  so I can’t wait to try out their amazing new menu when I’m teaching over there.

What’s next on the horizon for you? 

To continue to bring the highest level of barre classes to Auckland and to push and challenge both clients and instructors. As I’m pregnant, I’m also trying to increase and bring more awareness around prenatal exercise to Mums and looking forward to seeing more bumps in our barre classes. Barre is a wonderful form of exercise for mums-to-be and very safe. I’m also doing another round of teacher training which takes about five months to train up instructors (all dancers/ex dancers). My husband and I were married at the start of the year and yet to go on our honeymoon, so am looking forward to a mid-winter getaway to Vanuatu!

Favourite Local spots:

For a drink? Pocket Bar 

For a coffee? Dear Jervois

For breakfast? Mary’s 

For dinner? For a relaxed evening, Ponsonby Central or The Food Collective are great (Bearded Clam burgers are great!)

For shopping? I’m honoured and lucky to be a Lululemon Ponsonby Ambassador so I do most of my shopping here ☺. I am rarely seen in “normal” clothes!

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