Raising the exercise barre in Swampscott



Michelle Nigro, a Swampscott resident, is teaching a new barre class at Studio 21 in Swampscott.
January 20, 2016

SWAMPSCOTT — A former New England Patriots cheerleader and longtime fitness enthusiast has opened up Town Barre, a new fitness business, with rented studio space for classes in both Swampscott and Marblehead.

Swampscott resident Michelle Nigro, 25, got certified as a barre instructor over the summer and opened up her new business in October. She teaches four classes, with plans to double that number as her business grows.

Nigro doesn’t have her own studio yet, but rents out two studios. She holds two classes a week at Marblehead Fitness Center and two at Studio 21 in Swampscott. She’s at Studio 21 Monday at 7:45 p.m. and Friday at 6 p.m. She teaches in Marblehead on Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m.

The method of barre Nigro teaches is the Bootybarre method, which she said is being taught and trained with fitness instructors all over the world.

“I noticed the area didn’t have any classes,” Nigro said of the method. “I wanted to try to offer something like this.”

Nigro said Bootybarre is a proven method that uses larger and smaller movements. She said the barre, light weights and resistance bands are incorporated to work the arms, legs, buttocks, back and a person’s flexibility.

She said barre, which she describes as a combination of dance, pilates and yoga, has become a “fitness craze” because anyone can do it at any age or fitness level. Nigro said during the low impact workout, a person would do plie movements on the barre, along with lunges and squats.

Nigro, who was a cheerleader for the Patriots for four years, with her final game at last year’s Super Bowl, said she first started taking barre classes with her teammates and got hooked. After some research, she found she could get certified and become a barre instructor.

Although Nigro went to Emerson College for journalism and public relations, and works at a PR firm in Waltham full-time, she said she eventually wanted to become a personal instructor. However, she always thought it was her responsibility to “go and get a real job.”

“The older I get, the more I’m realizing if you want to do something, now’s the time,” Nigro said.

Nigro said another draw to the barre trend is that the classes are “a lot of fun,” but still help people stay in shape. She said barre is also easy to learn, with her clients usually catching on quickly.

Business is growing. Nigro outgrew her first studio space in Marblehead before moving to Marblehead Fitness Center, which is the larger of her two current studios. Her Marblehead studio can hold up to 18 people per class, while Studio 21 in Swampscott can only hold six to nine people.

Nigro currently has 75 clients signed up in her system and has about 25 regular clients. She said the number of clients who signed up with her “blew her mind,” as she’s only been in business for three months.

As her business continues to grow, Nigro said she plans to double her class sizes from four to eight within the next month or two. She is considering hiring an employee, as she currently runs the business and teaches all of her classes on her own.

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