I’d been eyeing Solace for a while – it’s a beautiful, high-end crossfit studio that also offers HIIT, barre, and yoga classes. In mid-September, I finally bit the bullet and signed up for their BARRE BREAK class (caps are theirs, not mine).

First of all, despite the name, this is NOT a barre class! It’s a mix  of hip-hop cardio dance and some toning / barre moves. I read the class description online before signing up so you don’t have to.

I arrive to the studio right as their 5pm Crossfit class of Murray Hill bros was wrapping up. After checking in, I head to the classroom, which is dimly lit with purple mood lighting. It’s unclear who the teacher is, so I just kind of look around like an idiot until a woman tells me that I don’t need any equipment for class, just sneakers and a towel, which  I can find in the locker room. I head that direction and grab a towel from the stack next to a sign that reads DO NOT REMOVE TOWELS FROM LOCKER ROOM (I seem to have found the root of their problem). Along with towel thieves encouraged by company employees, the locker room also has showers, locks, hair dryers, and straighteners. It’s pretty nice.

Anyway, on to the class. We start out with a quick warm-up and jump into a number of old-school hip-hop moves that get the heart rate up, paired with some planks and other ab exercises. Our teacher, Nina, was super friendly and energetic. We learn a few moves, such as the “Brooklyn rock,” that the teacher may or may not have made up. “Don’t be afraid to get gangsta with it!” she tells the room of upper-middle-class twenty-somethings.

After a bit of dance, we head to the barre and do a couple of glute and leg exercises. These did feel effective, but  I found myself wanting…more. Maybe it’s because I take a lot of cardio dance and barre classes, but each set of moves (both dance and toning) ended just as I was starting to feel the burn. I definitely broke a sweat, but I think it was more from the lack of air in the room than the workout.

The class was full of about 12-15 young ladies, all of whom seemed pretty athletic and strong, which was a refreshing change of pace from the stick-thin model crowd I  see at some other dance and barre classes. I guess that’s what you find at a crossfit gym!  The crowd also seemed friendlier than many of the other boutique studios I’ve attended; this was also refreshing.

Overall, this class was lots of fun, but I’ve had much better workouts. Athletically and artistically, it doesn’t really excel in any of the areas it touches on–I’ve taken better cardio, better dance, and better barre. That said, if you want to look like an extra in a Bell Biv Devoe video, this is your class. I’d recommend it to those who don’t dance or barre regularly and want a fun change in their workout routine.


[photo source]


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