Raising the (Cardio) Barre

Posted on May 28, 2015



Situated in the hustle and bustle of Overton Square above Breakaway Running rests Cardio Barre, a boutique fitness studio offering a unique workout that originates in Los Angeles, California. Cardio Barre, created by Los Angeles dancer and choreographer Richard Giorla in 2001, is a studio workout featuring one-hour classes that use a combination of postures from ballet, Pilates, and cardio for a high energy, no-impact fitness workout.

Barre classes use a ballet barre—barre is pronounced “bar”—as a prop for performing exercises that involve a still and balanced body while contracting a specific set of muscles. Serving as a sense of center and balance, the barre allows a person to concentrate on muscle groupings. Throughout the workout, the body is engaged as a whole, moving from muscle grouping to muscle grouping.

Taking barre workouts a step further, Cardio Barre is based in dance and ballet, as the workout includes basic ballet principles with cardio and pilates. The workout centrally focuses on toning and resistance exercises for the butt, legs, torso, and arms by lengthening and strengthening the body’s muscles.

“I knew I had to bring it to Memphis,” explains Memphis’ Cardio Barre co-owner and instructor Allison Steward. “Having lived in Los Angeles as a professional dancer, I knew the amazing benefits that dance had for both mental and physical fitness.”

Cardio Barre even provides a fitness workout for those with past injuries since the barre workout has very low impact on the body. The class involves no kicking, jumping, or punching, making it a safe workout for anyone.

“We even have orthopedic rehab facilities sending their patients to heal with us post-surgery,” adds Allison.

While Memphis’ Midtown location has been open since October of 2013, the original California location has had its doors open for almost 15 years. The founder, Richard Giorla, used his 30 years of classical training in ballet to create the low-impact cardio barre workout after suffering from a brutal hip injury. Giorla made the workout to keep dancing and exercising at a pace that made sense for his body.  Learning there were more people like him with past injuries, Giorla opened a studio to serve those with past injuries and those without. From there, Cardio Barre studio began to grow immensely to the point in 2007 that Giorla franchised the Cardio Barre studio and method, making way for the Midtown Memphis studio in the years to come.

In Memphis, Cardio Barre’s success and popularity continues to grow as there is a plan to open a Germantown location the summer of 2015, and similarly, Nashville will open its first studio this summer as well.

Starting at $18.00 for a single class, Cardio Barre offers its classes at a range of prices. The lowest class series, 10 classes, is $170 while the highest class series offered is 50 classes. Specials include $169 dollars for 30 days of unlimited class.

When asked about the future, Allison responded saying, “I hope to continue to give women a place to come to that is empowering. I hope to grow the Memphis community and surrounding areas through an encouraging and accepting environment, instilling confidence and purpose in every person that walks through our doors.”

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