Mats line the floor of Nine-Twentynine Coffee Bar as instructor, Jonette Shurden, prepares to begin this month’s barre class. Jonette Shurden, Bell Moody and Heather Warren are all owners of Starkville’s Studio Barre and Wellness, a locally owned and operated fitness studio. The trio hosts an event called “Community Barre and Coffee” once a month in the Nine-Twentynine Coffee Bar’s basement. This event attracts potential customers and gives them taste of what a typical barre class would be like in their studio. Both the event and the coffee is free for anyone who wants to attend.
Barre is a form of group-exercise that is usually conducted in gyms or studios. It incorporates the use of a ballet bar and movements from ballet while also drawing in movements from yoga, pilates and dance. In barre, you use equipment such as resistance bands, exercise balls and hand weights.
Shurden started the class off with a couple of light stretches, just to get the body moving; however, the speed of the class quickly picks up. Shurden puts a lot of emphasis on form, which is very important in an exercise class geared towards strengthening different parts of your body. Positions quickly move between laying on the mat, being on all fours and standing on your toes and stretching.
As someone who does not exercise regularly and has relatively low strength, this class was challenging for me, but it was definitely manageable. Shurden constantly encouraged each person in the class to keep going. If we were having trouble with a certain move, Shurden would even give us alternatives so we could get our work out in without pushing our bodies too much.
While working out in classes, I think it is extremely important to have encouragement, not just from the teacher, but also from the other students, and this is exactly what was provided at this class. There were people who were regulars and people who were there for the first time smiling at each other and encouraging each other throughout the class.
One of the owners of Studio Barre, Heather Warren, said she wants to focus on community and connection through barre.
“We are really all about going community and the mind-body connection of helping people get passionate about movement. That’s our number one goal: wanting everyone to be passionate and feeling comfortable,” Warren said.
The class ended with more stretching and breathing techniques which helped everyone cool down and feel relaxed after their invigorating workout. A group picture and a drawing for a free month of barre classes closed out the event. Everyone grabbed their free coffee, rolled their mats up and socialized before parting ways.
Courtney Purvis, a junior communications major, has enjoyed coming to barre since the beginning of the semester.
“I started coming regularly to barre at the beginning of this semester, and I received a free 10 class pass for Christmas, so I’ve really enjoyed barre so far because you can get your full workout in. It’s actually a really fun even for someone like me who doesn’t really enjoy exercising,” Purvis said.
It does not seem like exercising when you have a group of people and an instructor who is is so determined to help you have a good time.
Jonette Shurden is adamant about community and promoting health and wellness through the barre classes and encourages everyone to come and join.
“Studio Barre is run by women that are trying to make a difference in the community and promote health and wellness. If that interests you, then we want to encourage people to try us out because barre is for anybody, at any point in their life or in their journey. We try to be a non-intimidating environment and are really welcoming,” Shurden said.
Studio Barre is located at 500 Russell St. Suite 25 next to McAlister’s Deli. They offer six different packages for taking classes: one year, six months, three months, one month or one-week unlimited classes. Prices and bookings can be found on their website and through the Vagaro App.