There are ballet barres and a wall of mirrors, but this studio is not designed for perfecting an arabesque or grand jeté.
Nor does Vivaldi or Tchaikovsky echo through the room.
This is Pure Barre with high-energy music pulsing through the studio and an instructor on a mic guiding students through a one-hour total body workout.
“I took one class and I was addicted,” Elizabeth Woerner, of Franklin said. “I bought a one-month package that day.”
Janna Williams, who co-owns and operates two Pure Barre studios — one in Centerville and the other in Mason — felt the same way after she took her first class in Kentucky several years ago. The Monroe native was excited to bring the classes to the Miami Valley.
“I was a client first and I loved it,” Williams said. “So, when the opportunity presented itself, I took a leap of faith.”
Pure Barre was founded in 2001 by Carrie Dorr, a professional dancer, choreographer and attorney. After perfecting the workout at her first studio just outside of Detroit, Dorr moved to California in 2007 and launched several west coast studios. Pure Barre became a franchise in 2009 and now has more than 100 locations in 36 states. There are seven locations in Ohio with two more set to open in the near future.
The Pure Barre technique works muscles to fatigue without bouncing or jumping and then stretches them back out. The movements are designed to target women’s problem areas like the thighs, hips, abs, seat and the back of the arms.
Pure Barre touts itself as “the fastest, most effective yet safest way to change your body.”
Williams recommends three to four one-hour classes a week for optimal results. Class size is limited to 20, but most of the classes at the Centerville location average about 12. Students run the gamut from 18 to 70-plus years old.
The first class is always free, and there are several new client specials to help newcomers get started.
There is no jumping, jarring, kicking, punching or use of large movements.
A Pure Barre workout consists of a warm-up with light weights, exercises at the barre consisting of small isometric movements designed to tone your thighs, seat and abs followed by an abdominal workout. There are also stretching sections midway through and at the end of class.
“It’s a lot harder than you think or than it looks,” Cyndi Jordan, of Beavercreek, said. “It takes a while to understand the movements. The key is to listen.”
Jordan, who underwent knee replacement surgery, enjoys the fact that she can get a total-body workout without the impact of some exercise classes.
“And if you need modifications, the instructor always helps with that,” Jordan, 62, said.
Instructors demonstrate the exercises but then circulate around the room working with individual students to help them with their form.
“If your form is not correct, you won’t get the benefits as quickly,” Williams said.
Sara Hoar, of Kettering, enjoys the variety that Pure Barre classes offer.
“I have never had the same class twice,” Hoar said. “It’s so nice because you never know what you’re going to get.”
Hoar, like Jordan, has dealt with physical limitations as she was diagnosed with a herniated disc and degenerative disc disease. The low impact classes are ideal for the 29-year-old.
“You are going to see results,” Woerner, 30, said. “I have been taking classes for just six weeks, and I’ve already lost two inches off my waist.”
The Pure Barre program is designed to show results in just 10 classes but some clients see results even sooner.
“My shape has really changed,” Jordan said. “And my tennis game has also improved as a result of these workouts.”
Williams hears one comment more often than any other, “I hear how their clothes fit better.”
Hoar has dropped two dress sizes – down to a size 10, from a size 14 – and has lost 13 pounds since she started taking classes just over a year ago.
But it isn’t just about the numbers. Increased flexibility and strength are also among the physical benefits of the Pure Barre program.
“I got my splits back,” said Hoar, a former high school cheerleader.
And the benefits are not just physical.
“The biggest overall benefit for me is my mental clearness,” Williams said. “I just focus on me for one hour, and it feels great.”
It is more than a class for many of Pure Barre’s clients, it is a community.
“Many of the clients are now friends, they are like-minded women coming together for a common goal,” Williams said. “They get together after class and get coffee or lunch, it really is a community.”
Catching her breath after class, with sweat-dampened hair, Jordan couldn’t help but smile.
“You just feel so good about yourself after class,” she said. “I just love it.”