By Amy Leclerc
Barre3 is a unique mix of ballet barre, with influences of Pilates and yoga. But it also has a magnetism that’s all its own. Each studio is a micro-community, designed to be a home away from home, and you are also part of the larger barre3 community across the nation. Started in Portland, Oregon, barre3 has taken a little bit of Pacific Northwest charm along, everywhere they have opened their doors, always choosing studios with mood-uplifting, inspiring natural light and plenty of good vibes. Amy Leclerc, one of barre3’s first instructors — now VP of Marketing — and also co-owner of the first New York location of barre3 here in the West Village, tells us more.
What was the original idea at the start of barre3?
Our founder, Sadie Lincoln, developed barre3 by combining elements of her favorite disciplines including yoga, Pilates, and ballet barre work — all with a modern twist. Barre3 reflects what is important to her: an efficient, no-fuss workout that quickly shapes and tones the entire body, and a holistic take on healthy and happy living. Clearly it’s taken off!
What do you think sets it apart from other barre studios?
Let’s start with what most barre programs have in common — they work! It is no accident that “barre” has become the phenomenon it has over the past several years. Packing a full-body workout into an hour, where you’re making the most of every minute and using your own body weight, coupled with those infamous isometric movements, is something we all share to varying degrees.
Barre3 has helped to revolutionize the traditional barre workout in several ways. Our studios feature signature cork flooring, natural light, and lots of clean, bright space. In addition to our brick-and-mortar locations (88 and counting!), we also have one of the most robust digital offerings around. We know our clients are busy and sometimes getting into the studio is tough, so we have a library of 200+ workouts of varying lengths available for barre3 Online subscribers. This is a wonderful tool for staying connected and barre3 fit, regardless of location or scheduling constraints.
And what is unique about the workout itself?
As for the class itself, there are several things we are known for:
One is our variety. I always say, “You’ll never take the same barre3 class twice,” and it’s true. We are constantly weaving in new choreography, music, and sequencing to keep it fresh and challenging.
Second is our commitment to modifications. Absolutely anyone can do barre3 because we teach in layers, providing options (both up and down in intensity) for every posture, allowing clients to find what's right for them. We have a mantra — “make it your own” — and clients do. You will often see people in barre3 classes doing all different versions of a posture, and this is encouraged and celebrated.
Third would be our signature 3-step sequence. This is what barre3 is known for. Throughout our classes, clients will get into a posture and 1. Hold it — who knew not moving could be so challenging?! 2. From here, we layer on 1-inch movements. This engages new muscles and provides a bit of relief from the static hold, so you can stay in the posture longer and reap greater results. 3. After endless repetitions (kidding!), we finally layer on large range movement to flush out the body and rev the metabolism. Then we do it all over again! This is a very effective way to create a long and lean physique.
What was the goal when you added online workouts?
Our online platform was developed with both current clients and new clients in mind. Our clients are busy. We really wanted to create a tool that allows them to stay connected, even when they simply cannot get into a studio. Of course, barre3 Online also allows us to reach people who don’t have a studio close by, can’t afford boutique exercise on a regular basis (our online subscriptions are as low as $10/month), are intimidated by the thought of group exercise, or just feel more comfortable trying us at home first for whatever reason.
Barre3 has a huge following with new moms. Why do you think that is?
Well, I know exactly why! Through both of my pregnancies I did barre3 nearly every day, and it makes a huge difference in how you look and feel both during and after being pregnant.
Our workouts are safe and effective pre- and post-natal (of course, confirmation from your medical advisor is recommended). Nearly all barre3 studios offer childcare on-site, which is huge for new moms. The barre3 studio community is amazing and for a lot of new moms, walking through the door and knowing that your little one is going to be well taken care of while YOU are well taken care of, too, is a special experience. This can be a game-changer during those first months as a new mom. And of course, a strong barre3 practice can be pivotal in getting back into shape and feeling good after having a baby. I am 9 months pregnant now, and know that barre3 will be instrumental in getting me to where I want to be both physically and mentally after my little one arrives.
Barre3 has grown into such a huge community - in the most literal sense of the word. Each studio is its own close-knit community, and the online community ties people together all over the nation. Was that always the intention, or just a happy by-product?
I think it was more than a happy accident. Sadie Lincoln is a very smart and savvy business woman, but at the end of the day, the barre3 culture she has created is 100% in-line with who she is and her value set. From our studios to our digital community and beyond, she knows the power of connection, because she craves it herself. We often say at barre3, “We are our own client.” We know what we want and need, and apply that to barre3’s offerings. We believe healthy connections are as much a part of one’s overall well-being, as is physical activity and nutrition.
And at the end of day, the amazing barre3 community is what we are most proud of.
Just for The Sweat Life readers: A 30-day gift subscription to barre3 Online with promo code "barre3sweatlife" - which includes access to hundreds of do-anywhere workouts (ranging from 10 to 60 minutes) and tons of nourishing recipes. Visit www.barre3.com/redeem.
Amy Leclerc was one of Barre3’s first instructors in Portland, OR, and is now VP of Sales and Marketing. After almost a decade in NYC, she is back in Portland, but recognized the need for a barre3 studio here in New York, and co-opened the first studio in NYC, barre3 West Village. Amy loves barre3 because she can dedicate time, whether it be 10 minutes or 60 to her body and her breath. Amy and her husband have a 3-year old son, Blaise, and a new baby on the way, any day now!