Pure Barre fitness studio opens in Waterford
Waterford — The nine women and one man in Krysti Todd’s Pure Barre class held on to the ballet barre on the mirror-lined wall as they pulsed up and down in a squat, heels off the ground.
When Todd finally released them from this exercise, they began to shake their legs out, with one sighing “Oh my God” and another reaching for her water. The pained groans were a sign this was working, and studio owner Lindsi Bratland had let them know before class what was in store.
After sharing her excitement that these ladies — plus her husband — joined the free class for the open house, Bratland informed the newcomers, “Pure Barre focuses on small movements, where you’re working your muscles to fatigue. If you’re shaking, that’s a really good thing.”
Bratland is offering free classes this weekend at her new Pure Barre franchise, located in Waterford Commons next to Ulta Beauty. She will have a soft opening next weekend and start holding regularly scheduled, paid classes — 50 minutes each — on Jan. 7.
A month of unlimited classes will be 169 month-to-month. But those who sign up by Dec. 31 will be grandfathered in for life into respective rates of 143.
An 8-class package is 25. Classes will be held seven days a week, with most starting before 9:30 a.m. or after 4:30 p.m.
Elsewhere in the region, barre — a ballet-inspired fitness routine — is offered at Beyond the Barre in Pawcatuck and at gyms like Renegade Fitness and UP Fitness.
But this is the first location of Pure Barre — which has 520 studios across the U.S. and Canada — in southeastern Connecticut. It is the seventh studio in Connecticut, joining ones in Darien, Fairfield, Greenwich, Ridgefield, West Hartford and Westport.
It’s a “combination of ballet, yoga and Pilates, although you don’t need a dance background,” Bratland explained. Some of the exercises involve weights, a ball or a resistance tube.
She said the benefits of Pure Barre include increased strength, endurance and flexibility in a nonjudgmental community.
Julie Alnwick was ecstatic when her daughter called her up to say there was a new Pure Barre in the area, having seen it while shopping at adjacent Motherhood Maternity.
A gym-hater, Alnwick counted barre and horseback riding as her top forms of exercise, and upon moving from Massachusetts to Waterford two years ago, she was bummed at the absence of Pure Barre.
“I plan to be here two or three days a week,” said Alnwick, 60, of the new location. “I did it for 18 months, and I had people say, ‘I’ve never seen you in such good shape.’”
Alnwick likes that she can see and feel the results, the instructors are encouraging and the experience is different every time despite the similar trajectory: warm-up, arms, thighs, seat, core, stretching.
In a class on Thursday morning, Todd led the class with a headset on, instructing over the sounds of dance, house and pop music.
The free classes Thursday through Sunday follow 10 pop-up events at local venues the past few months, like Filomena’s Restaurant, Mystic Indoor Sports, Indigo, Pink Brow & Beauty Bar, and Cowlick’s Creamery.
“The community was really welcoming in inviting us into their spaces,” Bratland said.
She grew up in the Midwest and holds a bachelor’s degree in contemporary dance from Columbia College Chicago. She and her husband moved to Waterford with their sons, now 10 and 8, in 2014 because her husband got a job as wrestling coach at the Coast Guard Academy.
Bratland has spent more than a decade as a special education teacher.
“I was looking for a way to continue to serve my community, and match my passions for fitness and education and wellness into one,” she said.