Business partners Emiliana Prado and Daniel De Bellis have many of the same members they did when they first opened Barrecor in January 2015. And they say that’s a testament to their hard work to keep their Barre classes relevant to each and every member.
“Our members know that when they come here, no matter which instructor is teaching the class, it will be what they want,” said Prado. “There’s a standard we have and we make sure that every class lives up to that standard.”
And, they say, each member knows that they will get individual attention, can work at their own level and will be included “like they were family or friends.”
Barre uses a blend of ballet, Pilates, yoga, light weights and body weight exercises to sculpt lean muscles, increase strength and improve flexibility in a friendly atmosphere. Lotte Berk, a German dancer living in London, came up with the idea to combine dance conditioning with rehabilitative therapy.
Lydia Bach, an American student of Berk’s, brought the workout back to the states in the 1970s.
Barre has morphed from a class for nimble dancer-types to become the workout of choice for fitness fiends. In fact, it’s among the top five exercise trends for 2017.
Traditional classes start with a mat-based warm-up full of planks and push-ups, then a series of arm exercises, and continues at the bar with a lower-body section to work the thighs and glutes. Participants finish with a series of core-focused moves at the bar or a short session on the mat.
Prado has been doing and teaching Barre for the past seven years.
“I had an injury to my back from falling down some stairs,” she said. “I could no longer do exercise with impact. Barre is low impact and it helped me come out of pain in my body.”
She also saw that she was getting more muscle and much stronger in her hips, thighs and buttocks.
“I began to think, ‘I want to learn to teach this,’” she said of Barre. “After I took my first class I fell in love with it. And I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Originally from Brazil, and then California, she moved to Seattle and began teaching on Mercer Island. With two young sons, she went looking for a place to raise them that she felt was safe. She found Bainbridge Island.
“I always wanted to open my own studio,” she said. “When I visited here I thought this was a really good place, a safe place for my sons, and the people are very loving.”
She scouted locations and decided on a small shopping area behind Bainbridge Village at 360 Tormey Lane NE, Suite 194.
Currently there are eight employees and four certified instructors. Two more are in training. The studio has three or four classes every day of the week, and offer a monthly membership at $145. Most members take three to four classes a week, which makes each class about $8 to $10, De Bellis explained.
“And for that you get the enjoyment of a group exercise class and personal attention. It’s like have a personal trainer — but not as expensive.”
Prado described each class as similar, no matter which instructor teaches it. Each class is designed so that a participant can work at their own level.
“Our motto is ‘Your Best You,’” De Bellis said. “In some exercise classes, it’s a feeling of competition. Here, we’re about acceptance and inclusion. We’re focused on the energy.”
In fact, Prado said she recently had a new member who moved to Bainbridge from New Jersey.
“This woman was so ecstatic,” Prado said. “She said she felt included immediately.”
Typically, a member who comes three times a week will see results within two months.
Some members come to lose weight. Others want improved posture and strength. Still others are looking for a form of exercise that they can do while rehabbing from an injury.
“I’ve seen someone lose 10 to 12 inches in two months,” she said. “It can be dramatic. And many members say they have better posture and feel much healthier. It’s really amazing.”
Members tell the owners that they feel a sense of community while taking the classes.
“They are happy to be here,” De Bellis said. “They say that in one hour they get their energy going and then go out and give their energy to their families.”
One thing Prado wants people to know is that you don’t have to be a dancer to do Barre.
“Anyone can learn it,” she said. “You don’t have to have danced or have been a ballerina. And we have men that come regularly.”
The basics are learning the body’s natural alignment and then contracting muscles and moving.
“The movements may just be up an inch, down an inch and then hold,” Prado said. “But it is a complete workout and a significant calorie burn.”
They offer two free classes which can be arranged through their website, www.barrecor.com.
The couple is in the process of opening more Barrecor studios in several neighborhoods in Seattle.
“We live here and we want to give back to this community,” De Bellis said. “But it’s time to spread our knowledge of the business and of Barre to Seattle.”
Visit www.barrecor.com or call 206-451-4207 for more information about the program and class options.