Crowe Barre’s bricks and mortar studio will be opening this summer in Newton Highlands — around a year and a half after Denise Griffin Crowe and Julie Chrzan first started talking about the idea.
Crowe and Chrzan said they hope to start streaming their virtual barre classes from their studio location in July. Around August, they said, they hope to start teaching some smaller in-person classes and then have a bigger opening in September.
“What we’re building is just a studio we would both love to be part of as a client,” Crowe said.
Crowe and Chrzan are co-owners of Crowe Barre and both have two young children. Chrzan approached Crowe about opening a barre studio together shortly before the pandemic hit, but they put their plans on hold as the world shut down and their children began learning remotely from home.
“I really can’t wait to get back into a space,” Chrzan said.
Crowe has been dancing her whole life and received a BFA in modern dance from the University of the Arts. She said she moved to New York after college, where she trained with Fred DeVito and Elisabeth Halfpapp, who are “basically the pioneers of the barre industry.” She later managed the fitness program at Exhale in Back Bay for 13 years and said she left shortly before the pandemic.
Chrzan has a background in dance and grew up in Louisiana. She went to Louisiana State University for undergraduate and law school. But over time, she said, she found barre “filled a missing link,” and she trained with DeVito, Halfpapp, and Crowe. She worked with Crowe at Exhale for around five years before leaving.
Crowe and Chrzan said they have embraced teaching virtually during the pandemic. Going virtual has enabled people from around the country to take their classes, they said, and some people feel better trying barre for the first time from their house.
“Lockdown was the best thing that ever happened in a way because it just cleared a slate,” Crowe said.
Some downsides of virtual classes, they said, include Zoom fatigue and the inability to help students with physical adjustments.
“I’m pretty proud of us,” Chrzan said. “It’s tested us in a good way — I wish we hadn’t gone through all this, but at the same time, you know, it’s kinda proven that we can pivot when we need to.”
Once the studio is open, Chrzan and Crowe said they plan to have a mix of hybrid, in-person, and virtual classes. Because of the virtual option, Crowe said they won’t have to cancel classes for things like snow.
Madeline Laurano, who has been taking classes with Crowe Barre, said she plans to continue both virtually and in-person.
“It was something I really looked forward to every single week — doing these classes and feeling really connected and also feeling like I was getting a great workout in,” Laurano said. “It was definitely the highlight of the past year for me.”
Crowe and Chrzan said they want Crowe Barre to be a community and a place that makes everyone feel good.
“We can build the studio of our dreams,” Crowe said.
Suzanne Crow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.