While in New York and Los Angeles, Paul Bonder and his wife partook in fitness classes based around a ballet barre.
“These classes were popping up all the time and they tried them and just fell in love with them,” says Barreworks communications director Sandra Vadasz. “They were looking for something in Toronto and realized there was absolutely nothing like this.”
Prior to opening Barreworks on Queen Street W., Bonder developed workouts that incorporated the barre in collaboration with his brother in law, a professional dancer and professor at Ryerson University, as well as with certified fitness and yoga instructors.
After 11 successful months downtown and many requests for another location, this month the studio expanded to the midtown area on Yonge Street at Briar Hill Avenue.
“The signature Barreworks Mixed Level class is for all levels,” Vadasz says, adding participants don’t need to have a background in ballet or dance. “You could be someone who is new to working out or someone who has done a lot of fitness training and you can still get a tonne out of the workout. Our instructors do a lot of modifications and moves from basic to advanced so anyone can join in.”
Using the ballet barre, resistance bands and weighted balls, the studio offers a combination of exercises for muscle sculpting, cardio training, core conditioning and deep stretching, with an emphasis on posture and alignment.
“We want people to leave feeling longer, leaner and stronger,” Vadasz says. “We hope that when you leave your class you’re not only standing up taller and your posture is feeling better but you feel like you’ve grown an inch. We try to make people feel light when they leave and feel like they are achieving the goal of getting a dancer’s body without having to be a dancer at all.”
In addition to the one-hour total body workouts blending fitness training, core conditioning, yoga and Pilates, Barreworks also offers complementary classes like the cardio based DripBarre and bAAArre, which focuses on sculpting and strengthening people’s arms, abs and, uh, buttocks, nutrition services and semi private and private lessons.
“People ask all the time what they should wear and anything that they are comfortable in goes, really,” she says. “We always say wear something you think you look good in because you are staring at yourself for an hour in the mirror.”
A single drop-in class costs $21, while one month of unlimited classes is available for $199. Barreworks also has packages ranging from five classes for $95 to 50 classes for $750 and an ongoing deal for new clients to get their first class for $10 or two-weeks of unlimited classes for $40.
“It can seem intimidating but it’s not a ballet workout or a dance class, it is a fitness class that is shaped like a dance class so our movements flow from one to the other but they still are very aerobic, boot camp, fitness [based],” she says. “Anyone can do it and we just want people to know that.”
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