The Ultimate Guide to the Best Barre Classes in Toronto

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Yes, we’re still sore.

For non-ballet dancers who yearn for the quintessential toned physique of ballet dancers (Hey, Misty Copeland. Sup, Violetta Komyshan?), listen up: there’s a workout for you. Barre, the ballet-inspired fitness movement that’s become super popular in recent years is your best bet. The workout is a combination classical ballet, pilates and yoga moves, and focuses on isolating movements that target those hard to reach places and muscles you never even knew you had.

During barre, you’ll make use of equipment like a ballet barre (obviously), light weights, straps and core sliders, to name a few, which aid in helping your posture, leans out and tones muscles and improves your flexibility. Here, a guide to the best barre studios in Toronto that you’ll be able to pulse it out at. And yes, we’re still sore.

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Photography by Pamela Lau

Barreworks

Barreworks, which opened its doors in 2012, promises to get you toned like a dancer without having to master any choreography. The studio features extra-high ceilings, white walls and massive mirrors with a single barre attached to it. Depending on the class you choose (Barreworks offers 8 kinds) you’ll use weights, mats, sliders or resistance bands. If it’s your first time here make sure you arrive early: Classes are known to run right on schedule.

You’ll like it here if: You’re down for a fast-paced class. The studio also offers a boxing-inspired barre class, if you’re looking to add variety to your regimen.
Number of locations: 2 (625 Queen Street W., 3rd floor; 2576 Yonge Street, 2nd floor)
Available on ClassPass? Yes
Single-class price: $25
Amenities: Lockers, change rooms, washrooms, showers, toiletries
Grippy socks required?: No.

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Photography by Christine Reyes Boyer

barre3

Founded in Oregon in 2008, barre3’s approach to the ballet-inspired workout is rooted in mindfulness and aims to help your body regain its balance. Sure, barre3 may only offer one type of class—which incorporates equipment like weights and sliders—but this makes it super easy for beginners to navigate. Instructors are totally zen but attentive, helping adjust your form if needed.

You’ll like it here if: You’re looking for a workout that will not only challenge your body but also your mind.
Number of locations: 2 (430 Adelaide Street W.; 1383 Queen Street E.)
Available on ClassPass? Yes
Single-class price: $28
Amenities: Lockers, showers, toiletries and—at the Leslieville location—a children’s play lounge.
Grippy socks required?: No.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY BETTINA BOGAR

Framewrk

What sets Framewrk apart from the rest of the city’s barre establishments is its completely relaxed and unintimidating atmosphere. This open-concept studio boasts white walls, massive windows (which allows for plenty of natural light to shine through) and free-standing barres. Framewrk offers a handful of barre and pilates workouts that will have you feeling like the best version of yourself. Our recommendation: owner Josephine Cuthill’s Essentrics Barre class, which elongates and lengthens, as well as strengthens your muscles without the use of weights.

You’ll like it here if: You’re looking for an easy-going and unintimidating space where you can move freely; Framewrk is a perfect option for those dipping their toes into the world of barre.
Number of locations: 1 (9 Davies Avenue, unit 206)
Available on ClassPass? Yes
Single-class price: $21
Amenities: Washrooms, change rooms, coat hooks
Grippy socks required?: No.

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Motiv Fitness

This Danforth studio offers two class levels which is ideal for beginners looking to track their progress. You’ll likely use a resistance band, stability ball, mat and weights during class, which are conveniently set up for you when you arrive (and put away for you after you’ve finished!) so all you have to do is literally show up. Also worth noting is that Motiv doesn’t have a mirror. While this may be a dealbreaker for some, the lack of mirror allows you to truly tune in to your body and focus on your movements.

You’ll like it here if: You’re a barre newbie and looking to track your progress.
Number of locations: 1 (842 Danforth Avenue)
Available on ClassPass? No
Single-class price: $20
Amenities: Gender-neutral washrooms (which double as change rooms).
Grippy socks required?: No.

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Pure Barre

Pure Barre, a favourite among A-listers, is nestled in the trendy West Queen West neighbourhood and offers three classes set at different intensity levels. The studio is fully carpeted, which is especially useful for controlling your movements when using core sliders. If you’re a cardio junkie looking for a major sweat, the Pure Empower class utilizes a 6-inch step, which you’ll hop on and off of while performing traditional barre movements.

You’ll like it here if: You prefer a smaller class setting.
Number of locations: 1 (737 Queen Street W.)
Available on ClassPass? Yes
Single-class price: $25
Amenities: Cubbies, washrooms (which double as change rooms).
Grippy socks required?: Yes. The studio also recommends wearing a shirt that covers your midriff as well as long pants (no shorts).

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