bAAArre Works

What: bAAAre
When: Tuesdays @ 6 p.m.
Where: Barreworks (625 Queen St. West, 3rd Floor)
Who: Gerry King

A very, very long time ago a little place called Barreworks opened shop on Queen St. West and hasn’t looked back since. I did visit Barreworks those many, many months ago (more like a year ago now) and really enjoyed what the studio had to offer. As the newest and coolest dance-infused work out, all of a sudden anyone could achieve the benefits of a dancer’s body without having to be a dancer! How great does that sound? No wonder their classes are full beyond capacity each and every day! Which was exactly the case Tuesday evening when I visited the studio for a second time.

Getting ready for some bAAArre action!

Getting ready for some bAAArre action!

Today, Barreworks offers more classes than ever before, has a second (but smaller) studio, and opened a second location on Yonge St. With all these grand expansions, they still carry the same pleasantness as the day I last visited. After figuring out a minor issue of me attending the class — I was not registered and the class was full. Yikes! But Jasmine took good care of me and made sure I got into the class I wanted to take. bAAArre. And yes that’s how it’s spelled. With capital AAA. Which stand for Arms, Abs, and Ass! And holy smokes, my arms, abs, and ass are killing me today.

Barreworks were kind enough to invite Erin and myself to this new class of theirs, but Erin didn’t come with me. Thankfully, my friend and Barreworks advocate, Tiffany Astle, came instead (hi, Tiffany!). She’s been raving about this bAAArre class every time I’d see her. It was time to see for myself what triple A torture this class would put me through.

After a studio walkabout with Jasmine, I was introduced to Gerry (our teacher for the class). Gerry was energetic and excited — I can totally relate! — and made me really excited for class. This class was busy and right away the beats were blaring and our bodies were bumping. The intensity was high, and as I scoped out the room there were ladies in the class who’ve clearly been there before, there were you amateur Barre-ers, and newbies just like me! But regardless of your fitness level, stamina, or physical strength bAAArre is accessible to everyone. ┬áDon’t be fooled by the dance theme of Barreworks, bAAArre did not involve dancing of any sort. Okay, maybe we dance around a little bit, but it was nothing even I couldn’t handle.

Barreworks even offers SpinBarre! That's spinning & barre. Clever!

Barreworks even offers SpinBarre! That’s spinning & barre.

Gerry kept everyone entertained, working hard, and he kicked all our butts at the same time. His energy was hilarious and amazing. The class had just the right amount of variety, we touched on all the major points in the body we needed to without going overboard. I left wanting more. Gerry, I would come back to your class in a heartbeat.

Barreworks only downer is the cost. It is expensive to join: a drop in class is $21 plus tax and packages range from $95 to $750 depending on how many classes you buy, but, this would be a workout worth committing to. The basic exercises do not require a lot of things (you could do this on your own) but the dynamic class energy would be extremely hard to mimic. The studio environment would make each visit a good experience even if you didn’t want to be there. I would think this specific workout would require at least a 3 times per week commitment to see optimal results, but who am I to say. Therefore, I am saying, investing in an unlimited month membership would be you’re best bet. At least for a month and see for yourself.

Take this class if: You want the results of a tough workout without having to do any thinking.

A Barreworks Review

What: Barreworks Mixed Level
When: Sunday @ 10am
Where: Barre Works (625 Queen Street West, 3rd Floor)
Who: Paulina Witkowski

I did take a picture of the studio!

Remember my friend Tiffany? Yes, the crazy yin obsessed yogi (just like me) who convinced me to do my first 30 day challenge? Well, it just so happens she hasn’t been around the studio much these days. But nor have. I’ve become a regular at Kula for the month of July. More on that later! JK will be so proud of me and the positive things I have to say.

But Tiffany hasn’t been to Kula. Where could she have run off to? Well I got to the bottom of this and figured out where in the world Tiffany Astle went.

I’ve come to discover, Tiffany hasn’t been practicing yoga at all. Nope, Tiffany my friends, been cheating on Moksha Downtown with Barreworks! What? Oh my! But after my first introduction to the ballet style work out at the Extension Room, I honestly can’t blame her.

Even though the Extension Method class I went to was clearly not my most graceful of work out experiences for me. Let me tell you it was still a tough workout, despite the coordination needed to fluidly dance around. This type of work out requires your total body, every muscle in your arms, legs, butt and face. You lift your arms, kick your legs and point your toes and you’re told to do this while smiling. Ugh? Believe it or not smiling is a work out for your face. Go figure, no wonder dancers look so happy all the time. You can only imagine how intrigued I was by this Barreworks Tiffany spoke of. I assumed it would be of similar style and require the same amount of coordination that Jennifer demanded of me. But that Tiffany, she wouldn’t give up. She was so persistent on having me tag along for a class. And she promised there would be no dancing. Okay, maybe the occasional hop-step-hop-step sequence, but I could handle that much, at least I hoped so. For weeks, I had yet to go. Can you blame me, every time is saw Tiffany she would complain about how much she hurt or how badly the teacher kicked her ass that day. This doesn’t help with the convincing aspect, Tiffany.

Until one day, Tiffany and I finally scheduled an actual date outside of yoga, (see we really are friends) and this date would include a Barreworks class. Hey, where your first class is only $10, you really have no reason to not try it at least once, so I sucked it up and signed up for the Barreworks Mixed Level class. The bran new studio still smelled and shined of newness. It was even more beautiful when I actually entered the studio. It’s spacious, friendly, and the owner (a too cute older gentleman) couldn’t do enough for you. To my surprise, I felt right at home.

Barreworks as limited classes, four different types to be exact, but I guarantee each time you take the same class it will be different. Paulina was our teacher on that Sunday. No wonder it was called Mix Level because we covered everything. Every possible Barrwork exercise and we used all the different props at least a zillion times. This was another total body explosion! But not in a hard, “there is no possible way I can get through this” kind of way. I felt strong, silly and got a good sweat on that morning. And what I really liked, we were constantly moving. But there were breaks for water so don’t stress to badly. It’s meant to be fun remember. Yes, there is a serious component if you want to make it so, but for me, when I can see myself and see how ridiculous I look when I try to plie I cannot take myself seriously. Maybe one day with a little practice. Or a lot of practice. But until then, I would recommend Barreworks as a substitute to the gym. Go with a bunch of your girlfriends (sorry guys there were zero males in my class of 25-30) not to say that boys are not allowed at Barreworks, as I’m sure they are. I see Barreworks as the perfect fit recommendation for those people I see in yoga classes all antsy and disappointed because yoga wasn’t a hard enough workout. There are restful elements, like yoga, but you have work for that reward. You will sweat enough to work your whole body real good no matter your dancing skill or fitness level. Barreworks is designed for everyone – another major plus – I felt this about the space as soon as I arrived and I really appreciate that. You too, will have fun dancing and sculpting your body, that I can promise. Maybe go to a class that Tiffany is at. She will make it that much more fun. Trust me.

Take this class if: You’re on the hunt for a total body workout, you won’t dread going to.