This is a small barre studio in a very residential neighborhood. The space is well-organized and well-kept but small! Our class was fine and standard for a Pure Barre workout. We’d recommend this studio if you like routine, but we’d caution you to get to class early to make sure there’s a spot at the barre and that you don’t have to step over everyone else.
Every Pure Barre class regardless of studio follows the same formula: standing warm-up punctuated by planks, then moving into arms with weights. This is followed by thighs, then seat, then two separate ab sections: one at/under the barre and then a section on mats on the floor.
In this class, Brenna did a series of leg lifts and marches in place, then ran through a quick plank sequence on the floor. Our arms and abs were burning less than 10 minutes into the class. We continued our arms section with some lunges and side pulls that were almost like rows. The arms section concluded with some bicep curls and then we were onto thighs. The legs and seat sections of class both used a circular band that we kept around our upper thighs to provide resistance. We did a few leg series at the barre including waterski and then an extended chair sequence which had our legs burning! The seat section was also mostly at the barre and involved a lot of low lunges with us struggling to pull our working leg behind us off the floor. We moved into abs and especially liked Brenna’s direction through a quick flat back section where we sat under the barre and dragged our feet from side to side, working the oblique muscles. We were definitely feeling the burn by this time and concluded class with two minutes in bridge pose practicing our best hip tucks.
Brenna was a pretty encouraging instructor who definitely took note of our form, which was super helpful. She explained all of the exercises fairly quickly so we felt glad that we’d been to Pure Barre before, otherwise we might have gotten lost as we moved from one thing to the next. She made sure to explain to us why we were working specific parts of the body and was great at motivating individual people in class. We didn’t take much note of the music Brenna chose for class – but that’s usually a good sign, as we were working so hard on improving our form! She definitely gives off kind and encouraging vibes and we’d be happy to take class with her again.
Like all Pure Barre studios, there are no showers at this location. The storefront is nice, if a little cramped, with two full bathrooms next to each other and two walls of merchandise on offer. The studio itself is down a very steep flight of stairs in the back and is pretty narrow. The only place to leave belongings is in the wall of lockers at the base of the stairs, which leads to a little congestion coming into or going out of class. The props for class are all kept in that same location right at the base of the stairs, which means there’s even more loitering right in exactly the same spot. Because of this traffic and the narrow studio, it can be hard to get set up in the actual studio and find a spot to sit. We recommend arriving early to avoid this.
1325B Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10128 Upper East Side Barre $$$$
Pure Barre Upper East Side Lexington & 88th
Upper East Side Barre, $$$$
1325B Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10128
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Walking into a Pure Barre class, you can feel that it’s going to be a little different from other barre classes, because the equipment is different from many other studios and you almost always use one of the props. The culture at Pure Barre is also noticeably different, requiring full coverage socks and midriff, which can seem a bit conservative within the current trend of athleisure. Your experience at a Pure Barre class can be really hit or miss depending on the teacher, but we really liked Kara Hartman’s class.
Kara got right down to business, leading us through a sweatier warm-up than most. We were planking, crunching, and using weights for arms before the class had even gotten into full swing. She was enthusiastic and encouraging but not in a peppy-cheerleader way. She made her way around the room, personalizing the experience, and was hands-on in correcting form. She even spotted us slacking off a bit and challenged us to raise our leg higher and really get the full benefits. We also enjoyed that she made sure to be visible when demonstrating moves, moving back to the center of the room in between making her way around the room. Overall, we thought Kara’s class was great and can’t wait to try it again!