Kim Eslinger

Brianna Ojard
Associate Editor

David Tinjum

Claudia Kittock
Columnist / Non-Profits
Email Claudia...

Merle Minda
Small Business Columnist
Email Merle...

Michael Rainville Jr.
History Columnist
Email Michael...

Ryan Ojard
Staff Photographer

Jenny Heck
Mill City Cooks
Email Jenny...

Mill City Times is a not-for-profit community service.  We do not sell advertising on this site.

Cultural Cornerstones
Search Mill City
Community Partners

Thanks to our community partners, whose support makes Mill City Times possible:


Residential Real Estate professionals serving Downtown Minneapolis & Riverfront since 1999

Visit their website...


Enhancing the Minneapolis riverfront environment—for people and pollinators

Visit their website...

Recent News
Front Page Archives

Be Prepared to Feel the "Shake" at Pure Barre North Loop

Aritcle by Brianna Ojard, photos by Ryan Ojard

Nestled into a retail space in the Mill City Quarter building you’ll find Pure Barre North Loop. Barre, if you’re not familiar, is a workout that focuses on small, isometric contractions and high rep, low weight endurance exercises that activate Type I, or slow twitch, muscle fibers. When done correctly these exercises result in what’s referred to as “barre shake”, basically a muscle overload that causes involuntary trembling. The shake is a good thing, it means your muscles are changing and you’re making progress.

I spoke with Studio Manager and Instructor Leah Donnelly and she likens barre classes to a fusion of ballet, Pilates, and yoga that will help to tone your entire body, improve balance, and boost energy when practiced consistently. To help you achieve these outcomes Pure Barre offers 3 class formats: Pure Barre Classic, Pure Empower, and Pure Reform. Pure Barre Classic utilizes the small isometric contractions barre is known for along with balls, resistance tubes, and light weights to tone and lengthen muscles. Pure Empower builds on the foundation of the Classic class by increasing cardio and adding additional equipment such as ankle weights and platforms. Pure Reform is the most Pilates inspired class and uses both resistance tubes and sliders to move through Pilates-based moves.

The Pure Barre North Loop studio space

The great thing about all of the classes is that they are completely modifiable. “Whether you are just beginning your fitness journey, recovering from an injury, or are staying fit through a pregnancy, our classes can be adjusted to meet you where you are at,” explained Leah. I asked her if the reverse was true, would an athlete find the classes beneficial? She assured me that even those in peak physical condition will be able to challenge themselves at Pure Barre. I consider myself to be in pretty decent shape so I decided to try out a couple classes to see if this was true.

I started with a Pure Barre Classic class. We began on the floor with a warm up, worked our core with a series of planks, and utilized tubes and light weights to work our legs and arms. We then moved to the barre and began a series of ballet inspired moves that targeted our legs and glutes and challenged our balance. It was during this portion of class that I got my first taste of the barre shake and burn, and while it was uncomfortable it was manageable. After our work at the barre we returned to the floor for a bit more core work and a nice, stretchy cool down. Overall all I enjoyed the class and felt like it was a great total body toner.

Pure Reform resistance tubes and sliders

I also tried Pure Reform. I’m a big fan of the Pilates Reformer and was curious how we would use sliders, resistance tubes, and the barre to mimic the movements you’ll typically find in a Reformer class. After a session out on the floor with the sliders where we fired up our core (and by fire I mean it burned!), we moved to the barre and began to use the tubes. We transitioned between using the tubes while standing, kneeling, and lying down to tone both our upper and lower body, and many of the moves were similar to what would be practiced on a Reformer. I definitely got the shakes multiple times throughout class, which made me happy. Is that weird? In any case, I plan on making Pure Barre North Loop a regular part of my workout routine. The low impact nature of the classes and focus on building muscle endurance make it a great compliment to many different fitness routines.

 Are you ready for your first class? Here’s what you need to know:

  • Your first class is free! There’s no reason not to give it a try.

  • Make sure you wear exercise pants that are capri length or longer and a pair of socks. A regular pair of socks will do, but many people wear sticky socks which you can purchase at the studio.

  • Don’t forget your water bottle.

  • Something that’s a little tricky is the address. While the legal address is 300 S 2nd Street, the entrance is actually on 3rd Avenue South facing the Carlyle Condos.

  • There’s free retail parking behind the building that can be accessed through an alleyway on 3rd Avenue, and there is also metered parking on 2nd Street.

That’s it! Prepare to break a sweat, get those muscles shaking, and have fun with the community at Pure Barre North Loop. You can follow them on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on special pop-up classes and free events.

« Fashion Week MN Announces Spring 2019 Lineup, April 28 - May 4 | Main | Buses to Replace Green Line Trains April 19-22 »