lotte berk, esther fairfax & the original technique
Lotte Berk was a German-born modern ballerina who moved to Britain in 1938, escaping Nazi Germany. After she injured her spine, Lotte worked with an osteopath to develop exercises that would not only allow her to move in the ways that she had been trained but also heal her body. Her series of exercises, promoting core stability and centering around the pelvic TILT, became one of the most popular fitness techniques during the 1960s.
Lotte’s classes promoted community, a healthy lifestyle and, most importantly, a sense of fun. She had a way of welcoming women, knocking them with her wit and insisting that no one be given special treatment. According to her daughter, Esther, “she believed that if someone thought that the method was good, she should be prepared to come down to the basement, do the exercises and drop the airs and graces.”
While today Lotte’s technique has influenced the American barre movement, the ORIGINAL moves are nothing like what we see in most boutique studios or fitness center classes. Before class even starts, conversation is encouraged and the talking never needs to stop. In fact, when the room is quiet, the instructors wonder why it is so. “How can you have a room full of women and not expect them to talk?” Esther wonders.
The warmup, which consists of 25 moves, is designed to loosen the body and prepare the muscles for stretching and toning. While in studios a barre is used to support the body, a barre is not required. Participants can feel free to use a chair, a counter top, a stroller or pram, a table or any sturdy object that meets the body hip height. Small movements targeting specific muscle groups help to condition the body to move better and dedicated pelvic floor exercises encourage bladder health.
Esther Fairfax, Lotte’s daughter, began teaching the ORIGINAL technique alongside her mother. She continues to teach in her home studio three days weekly - and she is nearly 85! Some of her clients have been with her more than 50 years and her oldest client stopped coming two weeks before her 90th birthday, proving that these moves are for every woman at every age.
Four years ago, Esther began training the next generation of women who would continue the legacy that her mother created and that she dedicated her life to preserving. Though many classes have roots in her mother’s technique, Esther feels very passionately about keeping the ORIGINAL moves ORIGINAL. The McKee Studio honors Esther’s request by only teaching the ORIGINAL technique in its ORIGINAL design.
Owner & master trainer
Rachael is one of a handful of women globally who have earned a master trainer title. She in 2018 became certified to teach the ORIGINAL class through LA’s theLONDONmethod™ under Master Trainer Kelly Wackerman and her co-founder, Pamela Kennedy. At the time, Rachael was the first instructor outside of the tLm™ studio to earn teacher certification.
Rachael in 2019 received Esther’s blessing to train the next generation of women in the ORIGINAL technique. A lover of the American barre movement since the early 2000s, Rachael has been a student of several barre brands for 15 years. She feels honored to be able to share with women all over the globe the life-changing ORIGINAL Lotte Berk moves.
A fitness company owner since 2017, Rachael previously held a career in corporate communications. She has lived in the U.S., Singapore and Papua New Guinea and frequently travels the world. If you would like to book Rachael for training, a private appointment or a special event, please click The Contact Info.