Four years of Barre Base
By Rosa Anderson - Jones
This week we celebrate Barre Base’s fourth birthday. Some of you have been on this journey with us from the start, but so many of you have only recently joined us.
Barre Base members old and new, here’s a look back on 4 years of fitness and fun.
Four years ago, in February 2015, we started off running our classes from the Kaikorai Church Hall and the Physical Education Dance room at the university. Through connections in the dance world, Tamzin and I were able to find a regular spots here and rent these places by the hour. We began running 4 classes a week — and in those first months, the classes were overrun by our poor friends and family who were dragged along. I remember mum being fairly receptive and going along for the ride, and it certainly didn’t take her long to become addicted. But we needed more than mum to keep things going.
Slowly but surely word began to spread. We handed out flyers at the university alongside the team at Inline Nutrition and went fairly mad on social media. I need to mention my best friend Kate who was always willing to throw on a BB tee, hand out flyers and bliss balls and assist with any marketing efforts. She was so supportive in those early days and I will never forget it. Even from Wellington she still gets in on the annual #BarreBaseAnywhere competitions.
Lucky for us, we had filled a gap in the market early on. We knew ourselves how amazing barre fitness could be — and with us both not dancing as regularly as we had throughout our teenage years, we missed the discipline and fitness that ballet barre training had provided us. And we knew we mustn’t be the only ones.
What we realised really quickly is that we needed our classes to be accessible. Ballet barre training for dancers can be very technical. Although we wanted the classes to offer people that feeling that they were dancing again, we also wanted to make sure that didn’t put people off. The first few weeks we through about 20 movements into each track, and I remember looking over at mum and her friends who looked like they were chasing to keep up with every change. It was hilarious. What seemed very easy and repetitive for us dancers, was not to those who hadn’t ever danced before. So that was an adjustment we made very quickly.
I feel proud that we’ve created a programme that inspires dancers, ex-dancers and those who’ve never danced before — and especially those who say “I always wished I danced.” And what is even better is that Barre Base has given so many the confidence to go and start dancing again as adults.
Barre Base has evolved so much in time. As teachers, you grow and learn. You learn more about your own body, other people’s differences, and ways to cue movement in ways that might speak to different people in different ways.
We’ve diversified our classes, added equipment, added new movements — and each teacher offers something unique. This diversification has meant that people are looking to attend so many more classes each week. And that is why we introduced our memberships.
I remember Caoimhe and I were sitting down for a coffee and talking about the introduction of our memberships (previous to that we’d only offered drop-in or concession card options). I said to her, I am going to be stoked if we get 10 people on board. (And that felt lofty). In the end, we had close to 30 people who signed up for our ‘Founder’s Membership’ — and that number has been growing readily since. Since October 1st and since introducing our booking system, we’ve welcomed over 550 faces into the studio. If only we’d had Punchpass from day 1, we would be able to know how many people we’ve had the pleasure of meeting since 2015.
Barre Base has blown my expectations out of the water. When I graduated from uni and failed to get any jobs in marketing, media or communications I thought to myself, I am going to have to create my own experience. Combining myself and Tamzin's shared love for dance and fitness with my teaching experience and a Media/Communications degree, Barre Base was the perfect solution. I thought that this might be a way to get some experience under my belt, and have something to show on my cv. Barre Base has become all that, but so much more.
It’s very hard to put into words the absolute buzz I get from Barre Base. I have endless energy for it, and the vibes I get after a great class in the studio is electric. If you truly love teaching, you will know and understand this buzz.
In winter 2017 we shifted from the uni rooms and church hall to Vogel Street, this was a big step. We needed one permanent location. This was one of the better decisions we made, but sadly, we outgrew Vogel St so quickly. Having this one permanent spot not only helped with our marketing efforts, but it created one massive community. So after 6 short months, we had to bite the bullet and move again to our own premises.
In March 2018 we moved to 7 Crawford St. This is now home, and we’re not planning on moving — ever (fingers crossed). This was SO scary for a small business, but with the backing of all of our Founding Members and the amazing BB team, I knew it was totally in our reach.
Barre Base is so hugely accessible for all fitness levels, genders, shapes and sizes. It offers unique challenges for each and every person — and for those who’ve been coming for a long time know, it seems to become harder the longer you’ve been coming! You learn more about your body, you perfect your technique, and you learn to push harder. Because of this, we have the most amazing group of people working out, chatting and spending time together in the studio each week.
In 2019 we look to continue growing our classes to cater to our growing membership. We’re keen to welcome a Barre and Yoga Barre Teacher to our team too, so if you have teaching experience in Pilates, Yoga, Barre or dancing, and have an interest in working with us, please get in touch.
We can’t wait to see you all on our 4th Birthday Celebrations this weekend. Join us to sweat, stretch and meditate — and for a slice of cake.
Thank you so much to everyone who has been a part of this journey for the past 4 years. Nobody can run a business without support. It’s not sustainable, nor is it fun. I have met some of the best people through Barre Base, not to mention some amazing friends for life.
Lastly to my team. Caoimhe, Anastasia, Georgia, Mikey, Phoebe and Jen (my amazing accountant, advisor and friend). Thank you all so much for embodying Barre Base, and sharing your energy and love to all of our clients. You are all absolute legends, and I am so grateful to have you by my side.
Bring on 2019!