In my industry creating a culture of followers is a common marketing strategy. In fitness, yoga and even dance, there is a hook. Branding is a look, a style, an atmosphere, a way of being and moving that sets one apart from another. Pure Barre was fouded by dancer, choreographer and fitness guru, Carrie Rezabek Dorr. Carrie opened her first studio in the basement of an office building in Birmingham, MI in 2001. as stated on the website. Pure Barre hits the mark in many areas.
I have a rich and varied fitness background: Each time I plan to take a class I wonder if it is a format I may be able to teach. In order to work as a Pure Barre instructor, the prerequisite is extensive college dance or cheerleading experience. ( Nope. Although I was a high school cheerleader) The site’s Pure Barre instructor photos all look like they are still in college : That coupled with the fact that I am, well, let’s just say over forty, pretty much dashes my hopes. The only loophole is the “or recommended by a Pure Barre Franchise Owner”. At least maybe this means I could be considered, if I desire. Only after I have taken fifty classes though. Additional reading added insult to injury. If I want to own a franchise, I must have access to an extra 100 thousand dollars, not borrowed from a financial institution. Outta luck there…
As I entered the building at 960 w.5th Avenue Columbus, Ohio, I was warmly greeted by the receptionist. As noted in my last review, the magic of paying online then walking in to sign a waiver, is great. There was an additional box asking if I was a fitness instructor, to which I checked yes. Underneath that, was another area requesting me to promise not to reproduce any of the exercises. My mind went to one of two things. If these were advanced dance moves, I probably couldn’t reproduce them. Or on the other side, one can’t patent a jazz square or a squat, (which I already used in my classes and with my personal training clients). I don’t steal choreography, but sometimes ask permission to use it from my peers. So I was comfortable promising I wouldn’t. The human body can only move so many ways, right?
The sales lady asked me if I brought socks. I didn’t. I needed them for class. For twelve dollars and some change, I bought Pure Barre socks. I remember this sock! Walking around the hospital after the birth of my three daughters, I wore these. They have that stuff on the bottom to keep you from slipping. Two differences, these came in black instead of light blue or pink : The Pure Barre logo was written on them, in a whitish silver. Pretty chic! I love black!
Part of the above mentioned creation of a culture is “the outfit”. I looked at the site again, to plan. As a runner who is super casual when not teaching , I didn’t want to stick out. Today I was trying to blend. I don’t often try to blend. Black fitness pants and either racer back or spaghetti strapped top, longish, seemed appropriate. So I wore my teaching garb, black racer back, black fitness pants.
Let me say here, I was emotionally unprepared for the stylish clothing and items for sale in lobby. I noted what I would be buying if I were on a shopping spree. Low backed tops in every subdued muted sophisticated color imaginable, videos, balls, scarves, you name it. A plethora of exciting accents to the Pure Barre experience. AND a skin care line! I am a product junkie. I bought my socks and quickly exited into the next room. The customer service thus far was impeccable, friendly and informative.
The next room was a beautiful carpeted, low lit room. There were mirrored walls on three sides. Part of one wall sported equipment. A wooden bar wrapped around the room at waist level. This bar resembled a ballet bar but wider and about three inches or so away from the wall.
Pretty, fit, Krissy greeted me and handed me my equipment. A red rubber, stretchy tube with handles on either end. I had the choice of 2 or 3 pound weights. ( I chose 2,) a small ball about the size of a grapefruit and a mat. I have used each of these at one time or another, at trainings, in classes, my own or others’, minus the Pure Barre logo on the little ball. She added we would be moving to the bar, at times too. I would just have to see what we would do with the rest of it. Krissy made sure I was comfortable, then placed another first timer beside me, who was treated in the same fashion.
I am sure I was the oldest of the 14 attending that day. The instructor may have been the second,(after class, she did tell me her age, forty-three. She is also a proud mom of four – she looked neither.) As advertised it was an hour-long. Class consisted of strength moves combined with Pilates,ballet, and yoga. It was safe, flowed well, and was fun. A modern playlist of pop music played in the background. We were given accurate, expressive, verbal and visual cues. It is evident that the training Pure Barre requires to become a teacher is thorough.
Krissy had a great eye. Encouraging me and saying what great form I had made me happy! ( I am a Leo so flattery will get you far). She also spotted me subtly favoring my right “glut”. She discreetly and politely offered a verbal correction. I had a running injury about a year ago, that sometimes flares up. After explaining to her why I modified her cue in instructor speak, for my butt hurts a little so I am doing it this way instead, we moved on. The fact that she noticed was impressive. Moves executed “on the bar” were the intense and again ,as we say in the industry, ” utilized our body’s own resistance”. Except for the bar or should I say Barre work, nothing we did was new to me. That said, it was a tremendous workout. I did everything at the most difficult level.
When we finished, I told Krissy she was fabulous and why! I shared some of my background with her. She said ” I figured you must be doing something, I don’t know how old you are but you look great.” She may have read the paperwork, I filled out earlier, but I don’t think so. Compliments and affirmations were given to several of the clients. This woman – a total pro.
I ended up telling her I was writing a Review about her class, she asked if I was from Pure Barre. I told her I was a blogger/fitness pro on my own, writing reviews about our industry
Pure Barre is not a “middle class” workout, price wise. Customer service is individual and wonderful. The culture is kind and progressive. If I did several classes as a person not in my profession, my body would indeed transform to leaner and stronger,( combined with a lower calorie intake too of course.) . The cost of all of this is twenty-three dollars per class, or one thousand eighty dollars for six months unlimited. They offer a one hundred-dollar a month of unlimited class pass for new clients and several class bundles. Safe to say, it would be tough on my budget!
The next day I got a customer service call to see what I thought and if I had questions. Fabulous. I praised both the fact that I received the call and the class. I told her I was a blogger, on my own quest. She liked it .