The barre Creates a New Exercise Niche in Wayzata

Paula and Rachel Warford brought a piece of New York to their new boutique fitness studio.
The barre owners Rachel (left) and Paula Warford.

When Paula Warford moved with her family to Wayzata last year, she quickly noticed something missing.

When living in New York City, she became hooked on ballet barre classes, a high-energy fusion of interval strength training, pilates and yoga that utilizes a ballet barre for support and resistance. With no such dedicated barre studio offered anywhere in her new home state, Warford started going through exercise withdrawal.

“I was honestly devastated,” admits Paula, who at the time was hoping her sister-in-law and fellow barre-junkie, Rachel Warford, would follow her path from NYC to Wayzata. “We decided that we could live without the hustle and bustle of the big city, the world-class shopping and walk-to restaurants on every corner, but couldn’t live without a barre studio, so we decided to open our own.”

The Warfords, who studied various barre exercise methods around the country before getting formally trained on the east coast, will open the first dedicated barre boutique fitness studio in Minnesota, aptly named the barre. One class per day will be offered starting at the soft launch October 31 at the second-level studio overlooking Lake Minnetonka at 539 E. Lake St. location. The full schedule of classes will commence November 7. And for the moms with children, don’t worry about finding a baby-sitter. Childcare is available onsite.

Although the barre’s target market is primarily women ages 25-55, Paula says, almost anyone can participate, regardless of age, gender or fitness level.

“Most people will hear ‘ballet barre’ and think, ‘Oh I can’t do a dance class, I’m not flexible, I don’t have dance experience, that’s not for me.’” Rachel adds. “But that actually doesn’t matter at all- no flexibility or dance experience is necessary.”

The self-paced classes integrate small, micro-movements to work muscles slowly and keep them contracted longer for the purpose of building strength and flexibility.  

“In one hour, we’ll sculpt and tone every major muscle group, making our classes completely comprehensive and totally sustainable,” Rachel says. “But most importantly, we focus on making them fun so working out isn’t a chore.”

Now that the Warfords have their dream jobs and an endless supply to feed their exercise addiction, the emptiness that once welcomed Paula in Wayzata has been filled. 

“We chose Wayzata simply because we love it. We both live here, we love the people, the downtown, the small-community support system and the energy on Lake Minnetonka,” Paula explains. “Every time we step foot in our studio, we feel blessed to be back in the Midwest, and know we couldn’t have chosen a better place than Wayzata.”

For more information or to register for classes, packages, childcare, visit the barre website.