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Small movements equal big muscle burn in barre classes. (Image: Courtesy The Dailey Method)

Meet Me at the Barre: Exploring D.C.'s barre fitness scene

There’s no question that there are endless bars in the D.C. area to explore, but a new type of bar is starting to take over the city, the ballet-inspired barre. Barre studios have been in the city for years, but recently there has been a big explosion of different barre studios popping up around the D.C. area.

Barre classes are ballet-inspired group fitness classes that traditionally focus on small micro-movements. To an outsider, the tiny movements might seem easy, but take a class and you’ll quickly learn the truth. High repetitions and small moves add up to major muscle burn. No ballet or dance experience is necessary and classes are ideal for a range of athletic abilities and ages.

But with so many studios to choose from, how do you know which one is best for you? Here’s a rundown of some of D.C.’s most popular barre studios to help you navigate the studio scene.

Pure Barre

Pure Barre is the largest barre franchise in the US with D.C. area locations in Pentagon City, Capitol Hill, Cathedral Commons, Dupont Circle, and more studios across Maryland and Virginia. Pure Barre offers three class formats, all classified as high intensity and low impact:

  • Pure Barre Classic: Focuses on small movements, working to increase strength, balance and flexibility
  • Pure Empower: More cardio focused class, raises your heart rate and works on bigger movements
  • Pure Reform: The newest Pure Barre class, high resistance and slow controlled movements, targets, shapes and defines major muscle groups.

New students can sign up for two weeks unlimited for $49 and 30 days unlimited for $99. And now is also the time to take advantage of holiday specials. Sign up for a six or 12-month contract and receive half off your first month, plus 10 and 20 class packs will be 20 percent off through December, 25. Purchase packages and sign up for classes here.

Dating back to 2006, was the first barre studio to open in D.C. and is still going strong today. Expect classes to focus on muscle isolation with tiny movements and targeted reps. Music drives the classes and students can expect increased flexibility, muscle toning and core strength.

  • Barre Basics: Recommended for first-time barre students
  • Barre Burner: 45-minute classes ideal for intermediate level students
  • Traditional Barre classes: 60 minutes fosters a strong sense of community in Logan Circle and welcomes everyone to their small and personalized classes.


For athletically-inclined students looking for a challenging barre session, visit FlyBarre, a precise body-sculpting class where you perform high repetitions of small range resistance training exercises to target and strengthen your entire body, with a heavy emphasis on core strength. It’s high energy and playlist driven. Many athletes (runners, cyclists, dancers, boxers) cross train with FlyBarre. Expect to develop strong, lean muscles, plus with frequent visits there’s a great chance that you will increase your plank hold time or push-up count. And while you’re at FlyWheel Sports, check out Stadium Cycling, FlyFit and FlyRecover.

Studios are located in CityCenterDC and Dupont. New students can take their first class for $15.

The Dailey Method

With a balance of strengthening and stretching muscles, The Dailey Method focuses on alignment and views it as the key to all classes. There are three class formats to choose from:

  • Dailey Standard Barre: A 60-minute combo of small and large movements
  • Dailey Barre Express: A 45-minute class, great for a slightly shorter lunchtime session
  • Dailey Fusion: Introduces cardio to the barre with quicker movements and less time between positions, expect more sweating in this class.
  • Dailey Cycle: Combine time on the bike and time on the mat.

New clients can book one month of unlimited Dailey Barre, Cycle & Yoga for $79.

This is just the start of the list of DC area barre studios. If you want to further explore, check out Barre3, Xtend Barre and Bar Method. And keep an eye out as more studios are sure to open as the format continues to grow in popularity.