Lauren Filocco walks around a mirrored studio laying out weights, exercise bands and rubber balls for the students stretching along the ballet bars nailed to the walls. Pop music blares throughout the room.
The studio, which looks similar to a space for dancing, is home to the new boutique exercise craze, barre.
A mix between ballet, pilates and yoga, barre is an isometric workout, which means you focus on squeezing or contracting muscles. Many of the moves during the typical class are done next to a ballet barre, and others away from the barre or on a mat.
Filocco — capitalizing on the popularity of barre — opened her own studio, OpenBarre, looking to provide a fun fitness option besides the University of Maryland’s gyms for students at her alma mater.
Located above Starbucks in the College Park Shopping Center, OpenBarre has been open since February and aims to be a welcoming and enjoyable way to work out.
“We want everyone to feel welcome here…whether you are incredibly fit or you decide that today is the day to start working out… it doesn’t matter if you’re a sorority girl or a new mom,” said Filocco, who graduated from UMD in 2012.
Filocco has earned multiple barre certifications and works alongside six other instructors, five of which are current UMD students.
There are four types of barre classes offered ranging from 45-60 minutes.
Filocco also offers a discount to anyone with a University of Maryland ID card, including faculty and staff.
“I went to Maryland so it’s an area I’m familiar with, I know what it’s like to be a Terp and what it’s like to live on campus, so if I was going to start a business it was going to be in College Park,” said Filocco.
The client base at the studio is about half students and half local residents, according to Filocco.
“A lot of the students that come in are already familiar with barre whereas with the locals more of them live nearby and want to work out so they try this out. Surprisingly, the busiest we have been was over the summer when many students weren’t here,” said Filocco.
For the first and only barre studio in College Park, Filocco used fliers, Groupon and social media advertisements to get the word out.
Joyce Manalo, 35, was skeptical of the class at first but has become a regular at the studio. “I joined to mentally and physically and emotionally release, it’s been really great,” Manalo said.
Along with barre being a relaxing and enjoyable way to work out, it is a great way to tone your entire body.
According to Joanne Klossner, a kinesiology lecturer at the School of Public Heath, isometric exercise is a great way to maintain muscle strength. Reps you do with smaller movements like those found in barre workouts, “fatigue your muscles in a different way than typical cardio or weightlifting would,” she said.
Open Barre is also holding an event in partnership with UMD Unbound Sunday, Nov. 19, in the Colony Ballroom of Stamp Student Union. The event – Headbands of Hope, aims to raise money for local children’s cancer hospitals and with every sign up, Headbands of Hope will give one headband to a child with cancer. Each participant will also receive a headband of their own and be entered to win girl cards from local businesses!
The schedule of classes is updated every week and can be signed up for in-studio or on the studio’s website.