Called to the barre

Erika Ferguson’s The Pi­lates Barre of­fers a wel­com­ing space to move your body at your pace.

The Coast - - VOICE OF THE CITY SHOPTALK - BY KAILA JEFFERD-MOORE

Plié into spring at The Pi­lates Barre (5649 Hen­nessey Street, the for­mer home of 11 Street Bou­tique, which moved right next door). The bright and sun­shine-filled soft­pink stu­dio just opened on May 1.

Owner Erika Ferguson starting tak­ing pi­lates classes 20 years ago. She says pi­lates gave her strength in her body and she be­came pain-free. “I was so blown away with what it did for me–men­tally as well.”

She’s been teach­ing for just over 15 years– 10 of those years spent in var­i­ous stu­dios around Hal­i­fax–find­ing what she loves about pi­lates and barre, and what she wants to bring to the com­mu­nity as an in­struc­tor and stu­dio owner. “I feel like it’s just my time,” she says. “I wanted to bring something for peo­ple in my age group as well.”

The stu­dio will of­fer a low im­pact and in­ten­sity in­ter­val train­ing style of pi­lates and barre.

“It’s not just that ‘Let’s go and sweat and jump around,’” says Ferguson. “We need to take care of our bod­ies more. Let’s start to fo­cus on what we can do to age grace­fully and bring our­selves into the next 30 years of our lives, injury-free, strong and em­pow­ered.”

A jok­ingly self-de­scribed “drill sergeant,” she takes align­ment se­ri­ously. “It’s one of the most im­por­tant things in a class.” You won’t see her work­ing out at the front of the class with you—she’s walk­ing around the room, cor­rect­ing your pos­ture and giv­ing ver­bal in­struc­tions in-time with the mu­sic.

She says in an in­dus­try that seems to push push push for peo­ple to move their bod­ies faster and sweat harder aren’t al­ways the right work out.

Pi­lates is in­tense, it’s all about work­ing those deep-down ab mus­cles and work­ing on core strength, whereas barre is more of a dance-style work­out. It’s mostly stand­ing up, so can be more ac­ces­si­ble to folks who maybe can’t get on the ground to work out or still work­ing on build­ing the core strength for a pi­lates class.

“What about the per­son that hates work­ing out? Can we find a work­out that peo­ple like? And peo­ple seem to en­joy barre and pi­lates,” says Ferguson. “I’ve got­ten the most amaz­ing feed­back all the time about what barre makes peo­ple feel like and how fun and ac­ces­si­ble it is. And that’s what I want to keep going. I don’t want peo­ple to come and dread com­ing to barre class.”

When you’re in her barre class, you’ll feel like a dancer. “Peo­ple that come to my classes,” she says, “they know I’m there for them.”

IAN SELIG

“I feel like it’s just my time,” says Ferguson of her new stu­dio.

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