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Why A. Lange & Sohne regional MD Anne Schaal hits barre classes every week

A. Lange & Sohne's regional managing director Anne Schaal shares what she gets up to when she's off work.

Grace and poise seem to radiate effortlessly from Anne Schaal, but the regional managing director of A. Lange & Sohne attributes it to her disciplined regimen on the barre and a long-time passion for ballet.

PERFECTING POISE For Schaal, the challenge of barre exercise is making it look easy.

How long have you been doing barre workouts?
I started only after I moved to Singapore about six months ago. I was doing yoga when I was based in London and Miami but once I came here, I thought, “New country, new region, new job, so new workout.” I try to go to barre class two to three times a week.

Do you have a background in ballet?
I studied ballet for a couple of years when I was five or six years old. My mother grew up in Russia and one of her Russian friends was a ballerina, so she would give me lessons. When the classes stopped because there weren’t enough regular students, I turned to stage acting instead. I returned to ballet briefly in university, but once I started working, I just watch it instead.

Why do barre instead of adult ballet then?
Barre is less about choreography and more about working out your whole body, which is what I prefer now that I’m older. I need to balance out all that sitting in an office, travelling and eating with customers and journalists. And I love Asian food – maybe a bit too much. And it’s always nice to do something completely different from your work. Some of our watchmakers, for example, are really into rock climbing, bouldering and even heavy metal. They’re not things you’d normally associate with a watchmaker.

What’s the hardest thing about barre exercises?
Making it seem easy. I have to focus on my posture, the aerial ribbons and smiling, even when your whole body is aching. It’s also what I admire about ballerinas. I was recently at the Semper Opera House (home of the Five-Minute Clock that inspired the outsized date in the Lange 1) to watch “100 Degrees Celsius” and I noticed that you couldn’t even hear when the ballerinas’ feet touched the ground. It was incredible.

Do you have a favourite ballet?

It would have to be “Giselle”. I saw it performed in London and I loved the contemporary interpretation by the Royal Ballet. I appreciate balance, and it’s something you find in watchmaking as well. Tradition and modernity, aesthetics and mechanics, all have to come together so that people can wear a piece of art on their wrists.

(RELATED: How Laura Hwang brought dance closer to the people of Singapore)

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