◊ THE CLASS: Barre Body Fit & Barre Press ◊
WHAT YOU NEED
Grip socks (you can purchase or rent for $1 that will go to charity)
Form fitting gear that will show your technique
Yo, we really like Barre Body Studio. We’ve been before, we had to go back, and we’ll probably go again, and here’s why. With two locations in Calgary and one in Edmonton, this studio provides cardio style barre classes that will kick your sweet little ASS all the way back to your baby ballerina days. No matter how many times you go, it will push you to new depths you didn’t even know were there. We’ve now been to both Calgary locations and they each have their charms but the real win is in the instructors and the class. The community vibes flowing out of their doors are fierce, and they come straight from the boss babe owner, Marlo B herself. We feel strong feels that if you’re in Calgary, you should try a class bc your toosh will get firmer, you’ll probs make new friends and you might even find a little self love. You’ll see.
For those of you that don’t know Calgary, one of the most important things to be keenly aware of is that You. Need. A. Car. The city is so spread out, it’s difficult to operate life sans car, plus the transit system is only ohhhkay. That said, both the Ramsey and Bow Trail locations are quite central, easy access from the downtown core (each about a ten minute drive) and both are so close to major roads that transit options are decent. The Ramsey location has a ton of parking right outside the studio, with a super clear map on their website and the Bow Trail studio is in a teeny tiny strip mall type situation just off Bow Trial, so parking spots are right out front. If that lot gets full, the neighbouring side streets will do. So overall, we’re giving full fruits even though there aren’t a squillion cafes and cute bistros a half a second away which is what this big city girl usually prefers. We’ll forgive you, Calgary, you’re still pretty great.
BBS offers eight styles of barre class in total, which is a pretty impressive variety considering they only specialise in barre. Almost all classes are open to all levels and require no previous experience in dance, barre, or anything else – with the exception of one class that’s identified as advanced (Barre.Tone.Sweat) and one that requires you to have a baby, preferably your own (Mommy and Me). The classic barre class, which at BBS is a healthy combination of cardio and pulsing in ballet inspired exercises, is called Barre Body Fit. They also have a shorter 50 minute version (Barre Press – cuz you’re pressed for time, get it?), a hella focused core class with zero cardio (Barre. Core. Fit), our favourite NAME the BBS Banging Backside – lolz – which obvi focused chiefly on your booty, and the Core + Tone class which is all core and zero barre time. They also offer a private Bachelorette Barre class for a fun big-day-prep activity to do with your girls and they have a BBS x Local Charity class every Saturday that’s a fraction of the cost ($10) and will be donated to a local charity of BBS’s choice. So nice.
On that, the pricing at BBS is pretty standard with what we’ve seen so far at $25 per class, which does seem a little crazy that barre is consistently higher priced than yoga even though the equipment is faaairly same same (barre weighted balls v yoga blocks etc.) Anyway, BBS is a bit more than The Sweat Lab in Calgary at $23, but they’re the same as Barre Belle and pretty much all studios in Toronto, so we’re not mad about it. If you buy in bulk and purchase class passes or the membership, it will obvi drive down the price per class and the monthly membership is worth it if you plan on going more than twice a week. The membership perks are pretty freaking great too and include unlimited classes, a discount on BBS merch, two friend passes per month, priority entry, and vacation time. Worth it, yo, worth it.
- Single Dop-in $25
10 Class Pass $195 ($19.50 per)
Tribe Monthly membership $145
The Ramsay studio is a beautiful space and one of our favourites to sweat our asses off, literally. Located in an old refurbished brick loft with tons of space, character and charm, the space has a great flow and the energy screams community. There’s a separate room for Barre Body merch off the front foyer and a large, dark change room with multiple showers, complimentary lockers and all the feminine niceties you could want like blowdryers, mags, hair ties, hand cream and spray deodorant. There are two studios at this location with floor to ceiling mirrors and old brick walls with ballet barre’s wrapping the room. The Bow Trail studio is a bit smaller with only one studio to practice in but the vibe in how people treat each other (i.e. like FAMILY) and the decor are same same to the Ramsay location. The iconic turquoise of Barre Body studio is woven throughout the space and there’s a large change room with programmable lockers, private showers and washrooms, and all the same product extras.
Both classes we’ve been to have been completely full. Also, though, only women, which is pretty common for barre. The experience levels have been a mix of beginners and regulars who frequent the studio more than three times a week, and although most barre go-ers to BBS were 20’s-30’s we did see a few noteable boss babe grandmas rocking the class. One thing to know about the vibe at BBS though, is that they will treat you like family (but nice family) whether you come three times a week and they’re asking about your daughter, or this is your first class. So they are incredibly approachable even though everyone who seems to walk through the doors have legs for days and asses to envy.
- Grip socks for rent for $1 that goes to charity
- Blowdryers, hair ties, deodorant, hand cream
- Complimentary mats and towels
- Filtered water, and water for purchase – $2
- Complimentary programmable lockers
- Class equipment provided
- Barre Body Studio product for sale including grip socks
So we LOVE Crystal. Crystal Thomson has been teaching at BBS for 4.5 years now and her teaching style is direct, sweet, but will KICK YOUR ASS. This girl means business, she knows her shit, and even though she has an incredibly nurturing and motherly side, I would highly advise to never mess with her. She’s been surrounded by dance her entire life, having grown up taking ballet lessons since she was three years old, she also has a dance teacher for a mother, and now her daughter is in ballet lessons with her old dance teacher. Pfff, it’s just an adorable full circle of dance life. When we first arrived to Barre Body Studio, she welcomed us with open arms, gave us a tour of the facilities, kitted us out with grippy socks and water and wished us luck. Which was needed. She pushed us really really really hard, called us out in the class, and then pushed us harder. We kinda loved it, and not many instructors have the power to push you that hard but with a sweet and innocent smile that makes you NOT want to kill them. The craziest part was that she was flying around the room doing the class as full-out as we were, WHILE shouting the exercises to us, WHILE correcting people’s form. This girl is on it.
Marlo Brausse – Barre Press
Marlo is the owner of Barre Body Studio and she has a seriously gorgeous reputation. Anytime BBS has come up on our conversations, particularly in the fitness industry in Calgary, Marlo’s name is synonymous with the studio and we have ONLY heard incredible things. She’s known for being a huge cheerleader for other entrepreneurs in fitness, especially women and local businesses, she’s nurturing, kind, oh and she teaches a KILLER barre class. Similar to Crystal, you can’t let that sweet exterior fool you. This women will WORK YOU. Maybe this baberific Jekyll and Hyde capability is a requirement to work here?! Hmmm. We took Marlo’s Barre Press class on a Tuesday evening and the class was packed with her regulars. She led one of the most challenging barre classes we’ve ever taken and my favorite moment was towards the end of class when the entire room was struggling to push to the very end and Marlo told us the fight wasn’t physical but mental, and forced us to check-in on how we were talking to ourselves. She reminded us that how we speak to ourselves in moments of fatigue, stress and weakness are the most vital times to be positive, encouraging and full of self-love. It was a beautiful reminder, and we finished the class feeling sweaty, exhausted and loved. Oh also, she’s one of the only people we’ve seen in real life that can properly pull off white leggings. #goals
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
Each barre class at Barry Body Studio incorporates elements of ballet, free weights and resistance-based equipment at the ballet barre and/or the centre of the room and end with a floor series of mat exercises. It’s harder than it looks but it’s low-impact and will shape your toosh like it’s never been shaped before. Both classes we took we’re rating Hard and giving full pineapples without a doubt.
Barre Body Fit
The class started out inconspicuous enough with a warm up in the centre of the room with mild body rolls, squats and pulses. In no time though, we were at the barre pulsing so hard that our butt cramped something fierce and we had to take an uncool amount of breaks. They say the real work only starts when you begin to shake, so apparently the real work began for us after 10 minutes and we still had 50 to go. The rest of the class was a mix of exercises at the ballet barre often with a ball, exercises in the centre of the room that were more like bouncy aerobics using weights, mat work that included an ab sequence that was so goddamn intense, and then finally a stretching cool-down. Barre classes are so interesting from studio to studio actually, because they’re pretty much never the same kind of barre. This class was much less ballet, and much more aerobic, high heart rate activity with repetitive exercises targeting the glutes, abs and legs. However it wasn’t as focused on the teeny tiny movements that you pulse with for an hour, like at some studios (Barre3, Pop Physique). We personally prefer the former, but no matter what style you go for, you can pretty much guarantee a firmer and more toned derrière.
Marlo started the class with us in the centre of the room with one hand on our hearts and one on our tummy and she talked us through a good 2 minutes of deep breathing and focusing on being in the moment and being grateful for getting our ass to class. That was damn lovely. After that, we started in the centre of the room with a “warm-up” that lasted about two minutes and incorporated our full body to get us limber and juicy. Then we grabbed our weights and started doing movement like bicep curls (with weights) while also raising one leg to a 90 degree angle to the floor, or shoulder presses and squats. etc. etc. After the beginning centre work, we moved to the barre, grabbed our resistance bands and then wanted to die. Marlo has us position the band around our thighs and do about 5 gabillion versions of tendus, leg lifts and pulses of our leg behind us (see photo). Basically a super intense glute workout and the actual key to getting butt cheeks that LIFT. After this section, where my girlfriend and I WHO ARE EX-DANCERS are dying and taking constant breaks, we moved back into the centre to do ab work. Cool. We all thought we were about done, but apparently not. Abs from Marlo meant having a ball lightly graze our lower back while we spent the next ten minute doing versions of scissor kicks, bicycles and crunches, only to then lay down for another few minutes for reverse crunches and pulses. Here’s the part where Marlo started telling us that how we spoke to ourselves in those moments of total fatigue was the most important, so we all found that little warrior inside our souls and finished the ab section more appropriately designed for the Navy Seal. When that was over, get this. We did CARDIO. WTF. It actually wasn’t as completely terrible as it sounded as Marlo gave us two very simple movements (jumping jacks and cross ski jumpers) that we repeated for ten minutes and could really get into. Then, my friends, we finally stretched, which was so farking glorious and our asses and abs could live to see another day.
To try this class or anything else on their schedule, see Barre Body Studio’s schedule here.