P lié into spring at The Pilates Barre (5649 Hennessey Street, the former home of 11 Street Boutique, which moved right next door). The bright and sunshine-filled soft-pink studio just opened on May 1.
Owner Erika Ferguson starting taking pilates classes 20 years ago. She says pilates gave her strength in her body and she became pain-free. "I was so blown away with what it did for me–mentally as well."
She's been teaching for just over 15 years– 10 of those years spent in various studios around Halifax–finding what she loves about pilates and barre, and what she wants to bring to the community as an instructor and studio owner. "I feel like it's just my time," she says. "I wanted to bring something for people in my age group as well."
The studio will offer a low impact and intensity interval training style of pilates and barre.
"It's not just that 'Let's go and sweat and jump around,'" says Ferguson. "We need to take care of our bodies more. Let's start to focus on what we can do to age gracefully and bring ourselves into the next 30 years of our lives, injury-free, strong and empowered."
A jokingly self-described "drill sergeant," she takes alignment seriously. "It's one of the most important things in a class." You won't see her working out at the front of the class with you—she's walking around the room, correcting your posture and giving verbal instructions in-time with the music.
She says in an industry that seems to push push push for people to move their bodies faster and sweat harder aren't always the right work out.
Pilates is intense, it's all about working those deep-down ab muscles and working on core strength, whereas barre is more of a dance-style workout. It's mostly standing up, so can be more accessible to folks who maybe can't get on the ground to work out or still working on building the core strength for a pilates class.
"What about the person that hates working out? Can we find a workout that people like? And people seem to enjoy barre and pilates," says Ferguson. "I've gotten the most amazing feedback all the time about what barre makes people feel like and how fun and accessible it is. And that's what I want to keep going. I don't want people to come and dread coming to barre class."
When you're in her barre class, you'll feel like a dancer. "People that come to my classes," she says, "they know I'm there for them."