Wellness: Pure Barre

The newest way to get fit in Philly? Ballet — minus the tutu

The past few years, the sleek and slim of L.A. and New York (e.g., Kelly Ripa) have been flocking to barre classes, for fast-acting, ballet-derived workouts that don’t require actual dancing. Now that barre classes are popping up in Philly, local fitness-istas are bringing their bellies up to the barre. “Everybody wants a dancer’s body,” says Noelle Zane (above), owner of Walnut Street’s weeks-old Pure Barre. “I have women coming from New Jersey who used to drive to New York to take class.”


Barre work universally promises near-immediate results, lifting and firming all things jiggly, especially the rear, legs and thighs. Still, no two classes are exactly the same. At Zane’s studio, the region’s first Pure Barre, the focus is on small, fast-paced isometric movements set to music—and working each muscle group to fatigue (which is why you’ll shake like Jell-O when your 55 minutes are up).

Around the corner, Urbanfront Pilates’s new Xtend barre class uses fuller, more graceful movements. “It’s really a nice cross-training tool that incorporates dance elements with Pilates principles,” says owner Karen Pecarsky. “These movements get very deep within the body. People gain flexibility, improve posture, strengthen the core—and they have fun.”