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The Williamsburg area will have a new exercise option with the opening of Pure Barre in the Courthouse Commons shopping center off Monticello Avenue next week.
Pure Barre is a nationwide chain that started in 2001 and franchised in 2008. It boasts more than 320 locations nationwide.
Drawing on the traditional movements of both pilates and ballet, barre workouts involve high reps of small movements in order to strengthen and elongate the muscles without doing damage to the joints.
Though the ballet barre from which the discipline gets its name is in full evidence in Pure Barre’s new studio, co-owner Amy Perkinson assures newcomers they do not need to know anything about dance to reap the full benefits of Pure Barre.
“We use small isometric movements to fatigue the muscles, focusing on the areas that women are most interested in working: arms, thighs, seat and abs,” Perkinson said. “It’s so restorative and easy on the joints as well. They’ve had a lot of time to tweak and perfect this workout.”
Amy Perkinson co-owns the Williamsburg Pure Barre location with her mother Terri, and they both became interested in Pure Barre because of Amy’s sister Stacey, who currently teaches at a Pure Barre studio in Tennessee.
Though the family has had ties to the organization for several years, Amy never would have seen herself opening up a franchise of her own even just a year ago. Upon graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University with degrees in business and dance in 2013, she started taking Pure Barre classes in Richmond as a way to stay in shape while continuing to perform with VCU.
From there it was not long before Amy made the transition from student to teacher, eventually commuting back and forth between Richmond and Virginia Beach to teach classes at their respective Pure Barre studios.
Though Amy had and continues to have a passion for teaching Pure Barre, the expense of gas and time spent on the road motivated Terri to sit down with her daughter and encourage her to look into owning a studio of her own to which she could devote her full attention.
After considering several nearby communities, the Perkinsons settled on the Williamsburg area due to its central location between existing Pure Barre studios and the dynamics of the community.
“In Williamsburg you have a lot of older people who are retired and a lot of younger people at the college or recently graduated and starting their own businesses here,” Terri said. “What makes Pure Barre a good fit is it really works for both of those crowds.”
Its accessibility to different types of people is one of Pure Barre’s cornerstones. There are no different class levels; people of all ages, experience levels and athletic abilities take the same class together, with a variety of modifications available to make the workout more or less rigorous depending on an individual’s needs.
Amy believes Pure Barre is also very accessible to a variety of people because of the level of personal attention its instructors are able to give.
“Unlike a lot of workout classes, our instructors don’t work out with you. They are going around and making hands-on corrections and adjustments all class,” Amy said. “It’s a group exercise class but there’s lots of one-on-one attention.”
Variety does not just apply to the kinds of people who take Pure Barre classes; it is also a tenet of the classes themselves. With high-energy playlists and a huge range of exercises from which to draw, Pure Barre guarantees no two classes will ever be the same, which is part of what gives devotees such quick results.
Also varied is the schedule that Pure Barre will begin offering starting Monday, which includes early-morning and evening classes for the 9-to-5 crowd, as well as mid-morning and early afternoon classes for stay-at-home parents or other people who have free time during the middle of the day.
“We’re appealing to a wide range of schedules,” Amy said. “It’s just a 55-minute class, so you’re really in and out, and women need that 55 minutes to themselves to clear their minds and focus on themselves.”
Pure Barre is hosting an open house Sunday starting at 9 a.m., which will include four free classes for people to get a taste for the type of exercise barre entails.
“I do not enjoy working out, and I don’t like to go to a gym,” Amy said. “This is so different because when a client comes in, everything is there and prepared for you, from the weights to the mats to the awesome playlist and the instructor who is going to tell you what you need to do.”
There will also be numerous local vendors at the open house, including Imperial Olive, Tastefully Simple, Virginia’s Finest Chocolate and Prana Juice. Interested parties will have the chance to peruse and shop Pure Barre’s retail section, which includes a number of brands of high-end women’s fitness apparel.
Sunday will be the last day people can sign up for the five-week unlimited class pass at the pre-opening rate of $99. The studio also offers numerous options for paying for and packaging classes, including monthly rates, class packs and even single-class drop in rates for the truly hectic schedule.
“I would just say to anyone thinking about trying Pure Barre, there’s a right type of workout for everyone and it’s all about finding your right match,” Amy said. “Just come and try it. Everyone is welcome, and you’ll always feel better when you leave a class than when you came in.”
Sunday’s open house classes are free but require pre-registration, which can be completed here. For a full list of Pure Barre’s class schedule and rates, click here.