Born and raised right by in Danvers, Tanya Croteau has been dancing since the age of three, knowing she would someday open a studio in her hometown. What type of studio would remain to be seen.
But after 26 years of experience, and twelve years of teaching numerous dance and fitness classes, this former Patriots Cheerleader and Bruins Girl has created her own workout method, and in March 2010 realized her dream: Barre N9NE on Page Street.
“I came across barre workouts through dance,” explained Croteau. “It’s really popular on the west coast, and now that people are realizing how effective it is as a fat burning workout, it’s been gaining popularity here, and so far its done really well.”
She arrived at the name for her studio, she explained, because she always wants to appreciate where she started out, at 9 Page Street. As for the logo with the number 9 integrated into the word NINE: “I know the logo is different, but I’m unique,” she laughed.
Barre N9NE may be the best kept fitness secret in town, until now. Croteau explained how the business has literally grown by word of mouth, “Because we’re on a one-way street, it’s taking people time to find us. I was excited to rent this space, and the location is great being that we’re right downtown, but it’s also been a struggle.”
According to town by-laws, Croteau is unable to leave the sidewalk sign out in front of the building if she’s not actually in the studio, which puts her at a huge disadvantage with the entrance being located down a long driveway at the side of the building. “We miss out on a lot of foot traffic; people literally walk by and don’t know we’re here,” she said.
Even so, the evening classes have grown in popularity, and clients are constantly remarking to the staff that the studio is a hidden gem, and have spread the words to their friends.
So what is the Barre N9NE Method?
It combines the fitness aspects of ballet with a combination of pilates and light weights to achieve overall health and fitness. Using the ballet barre, weights, and your own body weight as resistance, Barre N9NE classes will tone your seat, abdominals, thighs and arms; strengthen your legs and back, and improve posture. Your muscles are targeted and overloaded to the point of fatigue, then stretched.
In addition to barre classes, Croteau offers classes off the barre like pilates and light weights. And for new mothers, there are mommy-and-me classes, as well as classes geared towards losing the baby weight; both classes inspired by the personal experiences that Croteau has had over the past year since the birth of her son.
“It’s close to my heart,” she said of the mom-based program. ”I gained 65 pounds with my pregnancy; a lot of weight that I didn’t expect to gain. Becoming pregnant and having a baby when I did was really the best thing that could’ve happened to me because it opened my eyes to other womens struggles and that gave me new insight and perspective that has been so helpful for me in connecting with my clients.”
Since becoming a new mom, Croteau has also gained perspective on how difficult it can be to balance it all. Many women have the desire to get fit, but at the end of the day struggle to squeeze in the time. Her solution? SKYPE: “All you need is a chair or counter top, and it’s a 45 minute, virtual class,” she said. “You get to work out in your living room live with me, and it costs less than the studio classes, which makes pricing very reasonable. It's perfect for anyone who wants to work out in the morning, but cant get out o the studio and back in time to go to work, or for moms who can’t get out of the house with their little ones. I think virtual classes will pick up more in the winter.”
What’s next for Barre N9NE?
Teen Hip Hop. Croteau wants to offer something for the younger set that is fun-based fitness, and feels like a hip hop class, with no contract as the key. The choreography will be challenging, yet easy to follow so there will be no experience necessary.
“Dance studios want a huge commitment from these girls, and if dance is not their main sport they can’t do it, which is too bad because when younger girls get together, all they want to do is dance! Here they can sign up for a four week session and just dance and have fun.”
The program will start on January 4 and run for four weeks at $40 per session, with plans to add more sessions based on demand. “I am running a special on gift certificates right now, buy a $50 gift certificate for $40-so they will automatically get $10 credit toward their next session if they get their gift cards now,” she advised.
In addition to teen classes, Croteau is constantly trying to keep things at the studio fresh and new, and always looking to inspire her clients to help them achieve their goals. Currently she is offering a 60 day Challenge and a Skinny Jean Challenge on the Barre N9NE Facebook Page that has been taking off. The programs require members to weigh in and get full measurements at the start of the challenge, again mid-way through, and a final record at the conclusion to track progress.
The program has been an overwhelming success, as can be seen by the glowing testimonials on the Barre N9NE Facebook Page from women who profess that the method has changed their bodies and improved their self esteem in the process. “It's so nice to read their thoughts, I’m so happy they really enjoy the classes. I’ve really built a little community, the women call it the barre N9ne family.”