Gainesville’s Barre Forte Studio Offers Ballet-Style Workouts
When I was a little girl I used to take ballerina dance lessons. On the day of my recital, I walked out on the stage with my dance costume on and little tutu. After five minutes of performing, the most embarrassing thing happened. My tutu fell down.
Trying to be a champ while hiding my humiliation, I kept on dancing. Once the song ended, I ran off the stage convinced I would never dance again.
Twenty years later, I finally decided to take the plunge and give it another shot, this time swapping the stage for Gainesville’s fitness studio, Barre Forte.
Gainesville’s Barre Forte studio consists of classes focusing on yoga stretches, ballet strengthening exercises and Pilates core conditioning.
As I entered the fitness room with a sense of optimism, excitement and an open mind, my body had no idea what it had just signed up for.
One unique feature to Barre is that the workouts are performed barefoot or with non-slip socks. The only time I’ve ever let my feet be completely naked during a workout was yoga, so I figured I’d give it a try. It felt refreshing and novel to do a strength-building class completely barefoot.
I saw a group of women of all ages waiting eagerly to begin. Owner Brinn Strange said she has had clients aged 13 to 73, with the majority of clients aged 35 to 45.
“My favorite aspect of the studio is the diverse clientele,” Strange said. “We have clients who are elite athletes training for their next half-marathon race, and clients who are working out for the first time in years.”
Strange, who has been a certified barre instructor since September 2014, has been teaching group fitness classes since November 2008. Strange is also certified in BodyFlow and Group Fitness, but she’s taught spin, weightlifting and kickboxing in the past.
When Strange found out there were no barre classes in Gainesville, she decided it was time to open up her own studio.
“I felt compelled to open a studio to bring this amazing format to the fit-minded folks of the swamp,” she said.
These classes focused on my muscle groups that I didn’t even realize were out of shape like my hips, calves and butt. Several of the workouts included using a bar for support while going up and down on my tippy toes. Other times my uncoordinated self was holding a ball on the back of my thigh and calf trying like hell to keep it in place.
The exercise with the ball brought back all the memories of when my tutu fell off except this time there was no embarrassment. All of the women in the class, including the instructor, didn’t even seem phased by it. I felt no judgment for being uncoordinated at all.
These exercises made me realize being a graceful ballerina is not so simple. I give ballerinas a ton of credit for being able to stand on their tiptoes while having perfect balance and posture because damn, it’s a lot harder than it looks. By the end of class, my hips and legs felt like they were on fire.
To be successful in these classes, posture is a must. I’ll admit I’m a bit of a sloucher, so it definitely made the exercises more challenging. A lot of the movements included standing on your tiptoes while standing up straight or sitting in an upright chair position.
Since its opening in May of 2015, Barre Forte has developed two unique program opportunities. The wedding dress ready program and the post-baby hotty body program, which are both offered year round. These programs are designed to shed the pounds right before your special day or right after bringing a beautiful new munchkin into the world.
Another unique feature of these classes is the personalized attention you receive from the instructor. With intimate class sizes and personalized instruction, she can check each person’s form and correct it if needed.
“I’ve been to many studios and Brinn is exceptional at making people feel comfortable,” said Barre Forte’s Pilates instructor Sylvia Fletcher. “Brinn remembers every single name even if she has 25 people in the class… she cares about the business and making people feel exceptional.”
The refreshing one-on-one interaction equips you with the mindset that you really can succeed and the sense of community is a motiving force to keep you coming back.
“Being encouraged to challenge your body in new ways makes the class especially fun, and the time always flies by,” Strange said.
Are you interested in learning more about Barre Forte? You can check them out here and claim your free seven-day unlimited trial week. Try as many different classes as you want.
“You will not only experience safe, effective and addicting workouts, but you will quickly become a part of our amazing community of women feeling more and more empowered in every aspect of their life,” Strange said.