Barre classes offer empowering workout environment


Source: Kate Dalcamo

Customers practice conditioning and strength exercises at The Barre Code. The new fitness studio opened Feb. 27 and joins Pure Barre and Fit Girl Studio in offering barre classes in Evanston.

Amanda Svachula, Reporter


Dance, kickboxing, fitness and yoga thrive under the same roof at The Barre Code, the newest of Evanston’s specialty fitness studios.

The Barre Code, which opened Feb. 27, joins Pure Barre and Fit Girl Studio in offering barre, yoga and dance to the Northwestern and Evanston communities. With positive mantras involving “strength” and “beauty,” barre classes, which focus on using ballet-like movements to tone the body, offer a unique, empowering alternative to traditional workouts.

The classes focus on “isometric holds and heavy repetition” to increase muscle endurance. Different studios offer different variations of barre workouts, but each type of workout offers unique benefits.

The Barre Code, 604 Davis St., offers a 50-minute starter class. The Barre Code holds variations of barre classes that also feature kickboxing and yoga. These use a more intense version of beginner class movements.

“There is the word ‘barre’ in our name, however only one of our classes is a standard barre class,” studio owner Kate Dacalmo said. “We try to make this a one stop shop. It’s not just cardio, it’s not just barre. It has everything you need.”

The Evanston branch of Pure Barre only offers barre classes, which are structured similarly but differ based on the instructor.

“It’s definitely a challenging class,” Pure Barre studio manager Brynn Samp said. “It’s a little faster paced than a lot of classes our clients have taken before.”

Besides offering a space to workout, barre classes offer customers a safe space to physically improve and meet others with the same mission. Instructors at both Pure Barre and The Barre Code are trained to offer modifications in class if someone is not comfortable. Participants can adjust the workout to what they want it to be.

“We know it takes a lot out of your day, especially when it’s cold and snowing, to come here and workout,” Dacalmo said. “We’re here to feel good about ourselves. I think when you create that environment, you naturally see people connecting and making friendships. It’s just fun. It’s bright and not too serious. This is supposed to be your break from life.”

Weinberg freshman Emma Wynekoop attended her first barre class this quarter at The Barre Code to bond with friends. The environment surprised her.

“It’s extremely important to have a positive workout environment,” Wynekoop said. “I know a lot of people who don’t go to the gym because they feel like they’re being judged.”

In a judgment-free zone, barre classes offer an alternative to traditional cardio in an environment that empowers women to be healthy and fit.

“(Pure Barre) offers a really positive environment,” Samp said. “We spend time trying to get to know everyone. It’s more like a family when you come, and you just happen to be at a fitness facility.”

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