Barre class hosted at Etsi Bravo

Dance club partnered with Sanctuary Yoga for exercise event

MARCUS STEPHEN COX, Evergreen reporter

Tomorrow evening, Etsi Bravo and Sanctuary Yoga will team up to host an evening of exercise as Barre at the Bar takes over the downtown area.

Barre at the Bar will be taught by longtime fitness instructor Jamie Hunter of Sanctuary Yoga.  Hunter began her career as an exercise instructor in the late 90s teaching cardio kickboxing and step exercises. After completing a 200-hour certification program, she began teaching yoga last year.

While exercising in a bar may strike some as unusual, owners Blake and Cory Preston said that it is becoming increasingly common.

“More and more nightclubs across the country are starting to do this kind of thing, and I think rightfully so,” Cory said. “There is so much space [and with the] sound system and DJ setup it would be a waste to only use that stuff after 10 p.m.”

Cory said since opening in downtown Pullman two and a half years ago, they have gained a reputation as a venue for supporting local and out-of-state talent. Blake added the variety of their exercise classes contributes to this reputation.

The concept of Barre at the Bar was born from the friendship between Blake Preston and Jamie Hunter. Blake said in the past, Etsi Bravo hosted events for Zumba, yoga and Pilates. When Hunter thought of the idea of Barre at the Bar, they knew it was a perfect fit for them.

Hunter said part of the fun of holding events like Barre at the Bar is that it provides a less intimidating environment for newcomers. She said the dark bar provides more comfort to people, and those who usually wouldn’t go to a fitness class are more likely to come to an event like this.

As for the class itself, Hunter said barre uses a combination of techniques from different exercises and dances, like yoga and ballet. With barre, the exercises focus more on isometric holds and micro-movements that combine gym activities and dance techniques.

Hunter described an isometric movement as a technique that requires an aerobic position, like a squat, to be held for an extended period.

Hunter said while barre may have a general foundation based on other exercises, no two classes will be alike. Hunter said each instructor builds the course based on their preferences and that some classes will focus more on Pilates or ballet.

For Barre at the Bar, Hunter will utilize ballet bars as other barre classes do, but will also encourage students to step away from the bar to work on other areas, like balance to help improve core strength.

Hunter said the class is coordinated with a live DJ performance, which allows Hunter to focus the exercise on specific muscle groups but also adjust and make changes as the class progresses.

The location may also offer participants a novel experience, one starkly different from going to a class in a yoga studio.

“Teaching with a live DJ is such a different experience than taking an actual class,” Hunter said. “It’s a different environment; it’s like being in a club.”

Even though the event is taking place at a bar, attendees still need to practice responsible drinking behavior. Hunter stressed the importance of hydrating with water before the class and not over-consuming drinks after.

Hunter said Sanctuary takes pride in bringing people together to do something that is good for them.

For those interested in attending, the event will run from 7-8 p.m. tomorrow and will take place in the dance hall of Etsi Bravo, while the lounge area will continue to operate as usual.

A ticket to the event will cost $15 and includes a choice of one cocktail, mocktail, beer or glass of wine. Tickets can be purchased from a link on the program’s Facebook page. Barre at the Bar will be exclusive to patrons 21 and up.