2020 strikes again. And with every hit this year lands on labarre studios, my equipe, and those around me, I brace for impact and regain my balance only to swing back.
We have pivoted over and over in the past few months as you already know!
2020 hits: we create a massive virtual library.
2020 hits again: we take our classes outdoors.
2020 hits yet again: we take our wellness providers outdoors.
2020 hits yet again: we add LIVESTREAM to our virtual platform
2020 hits harder, yet again: we find a way to pivot and that is where we are now.
If we only had a DeLorean, we’d go back to the future, because 2020 has me feeling a little bit like Marty McFly!
In 2016, I had a vision of bringing a barre-inspired studio right here in San Jose, specifically in our historic building, and I faced pushback from a few angles including franchised studios.
It didn’t stop me.
With focus and passion I assembled an incredible team of founding instructors and we began building out 1445 The Alameda… but I needed to get labarre studios off the ground as our build-out took almost 9 months and rent had to be paid. So, I decided to teach classes for free for 5+ months, certify instructors, and start building our community as we were creating our oasis before the drywall was up and the building was completed.
During this time, I needed a space to achieve this lofty goal, and I was lucky enough to connect with Donna Maruoka, Founder and Director of Roundhill Studios. Donna has been a part of the ballet & dance community for decades and after her studio suffered crippling damage from a fire, she relocated to her space at 1043 Garland Avenue in San Jose, CA. There she continued on with her work with dancers of all ages.
Donna and Roundhill proved to be a great landing spot for labarre to launch, and we created our underground classes which were the foundation of our business! In under a half of a year we left Roundhill Studios and opened our doors on The Alameda always keeping Donna and her studio in our hearts and our family. You may notice the photos in the lobby of the ballet dancers around our studio, those photos were gifts from Donna and Roundhill Studios!
Well call Doc Brown and find some plutonium… because we are back at Roundhill!
Thanks to Donna and Roundhill, we have found a way to keep in-person classes alive as the pandemic is forcing our in-studio classes to be shut down for the third time at labarre. Her open-air studio – which is a safe alternative as we slide into the Purple Tier here in Santa Clara – is ready to roll! With a huge garage door and open windows to allow for great air flow and safety for the members and instructors, we are returning to where it all began. We are headed back to the future for the time being!
This movement has been coined, #OperationPivot! It’s not ideal but neither is anything that 2020 has thrown at you, your family, your friends and your life!
We here at labarre are losing sleep so you will have one less thing to worry about. Assuring that you are doing your very best to feel good physically and mentally is what we strive for. The good news is that our wellness providers are still at 1445 The Alameda and open for business with safety protocols in full effect. Even better, ALL of our classes will continue to be livestreamed so you won’t miss a beat!
Have questions or thoughts – email us at email@example.com and we will get back to you immediately!
It’s time to PIVOT! So grab your mat, props, and smile and we will see you at Roundhill Studios until further notice!
Born and raised San Jose you may know Julie as she has been around since, well, the beginning! She is also a wonderful drumming instructor and valued member of our equipe.
This original member of labarre transformed into one of our terrific instructors but before we get to the present day, let’s jump into the time machine and get to know Julie and her journey.
This Northern Californian decided to head to UC Santa Barbara for school as she received a bachelor’s degree in communications. After school, Julie headed to New York for a change of scenery and fell in love with the city that never sleeps.
Relocating to San Jose, Julie discovered labarre in the Summer of 2017… for those who have been around, we refer to those as the “underground days”!
“I had tried a lot of exercise programs, but none of them ever stuck. That was until I tried labarre!” Julie was drawn to the fact that it fit well with her dance background and ballet training, something she had done for the greater part of her life. The unique classes at labarre were a wonderful addition to her routine, but it was the drumming format that captured Julie’s heart. “The fun of the musicality and rhythmic feel was amazing, and it really fit well. I love tap dancing and I feel like when I am drumming, I am tap dancing with my sticks!”
The change from student to teacher was about to happen. Never having taught a fitness class, Julie’s love of labarre would catapult her to the front of the class.
“The transition from student to instructor was challenging, but it was Lisa [Alberino, Founder] who said ‘I know you can do it and I believe in you!’ I wondered if I should really be instructing, but after making the leap I was thrilled. I think my next step will be teaching barre”.
Julie is a busy mom of three and she also runs a non-profit Montessori school, so her time is limited but she gets her reps in whether she is instructing or enjoying the fruits of being a part of the labarre equipe. An important step in keeping her mind, body and spirit balanced in such challenging times.
“What I have learned from the lessons of 2020, is that the ability to adapt to technology has really been amazing but not as amazing as the ability to connect with people.” Julie continues “As isolating as this all has been, it has been hugely connecting at the same time.”
2020 has affected all of us and when some semblance of normalcy returns, that means Julie and her family will hit the road once again. “We love to travel! We love Tahoe and have spent quite a lot of time skiing and snowboarding, but we adore the beach too, specifically Cabo. We go there as a family every year.”
Julie has taken her drumming class outdoors and is set to pull out her sticks and get people moving once again! “I tell my friends, come to my class. First of all, it’s the warmest most welcoming place, there’s absolutely no judgement. When we are drumming, it’s just a release, you can get a workout and rock out. Plain and simple.”
Get rocking with Julie as she takes to the great outdoors this week! Sign up HERE
Stopping and saying something kind can change the outcome of someone’s day. These days, especially, it is imperative that we find the beauty and kindness in the simplest of things. A friend’s phone call, a held door to assure someone can enter a store before you do, letting someone in your lane so they can merge without anxiety. The little things.
As we all work to get our minds free of worry, our bodies renewed with energy, and our spirits soaring with hope of what could and should be, we need kindness and gratitude to be our beacon.
Along with the entire staff at labarre studios, I know that we are here to cheer our guests on and make their experience an empowering and beneficial one. It is our job to push you that extra 10 seconds when you don’t have a lot left in the tank and then remind you that you are stronger than you think you are.
In that very same spirit of gratitude we are looking to put your thoughts out as it pertains to anything you would like to evangelize. Whether it be the instructors, wellness providers, fellow members helping to push you that extra mile in an outdoor class, a virtual class or even the virtual library that helps you get that workout in when the rest of the world is sleeping, but you are just returning from work.
Let us know, as we want to hear your words and what you love about the labarre experience.
It’s as easy as sending a line or two to firstname.lastname@example.org. Nothing fancy, nothing formal. We will then create a small post using your own words to help inspire instructors, members and guests to push on in these challenging times.
Thanks for being a part of the labarre family and let’s stay labarre strong.
PS: I will go first!
Founder/Owner labarre studios
As September crept into our calendar in this ever so challenging and unique year, we realized that we had stockpiled some incredible videos of your favorite instructors doing what they do best; helping you to design yourself in the comfort and safety of your homes.
Although we were producing a robust library for our members, we didn’t realize just HOW robust it was. With nearly 400 videos it became, well, a little overwhelming! It was time to re-imagine a more manageable way for you to get the workout you need with little searching.
Our exclusive library is organized by different disciplines such as quick clips, 30-minute workouts, barre, HIIT, Yoga, Meditation, and specialty classes. We have trimmed down the content to simplify your search for the perfect workout. We want you to get right to what you love most; a great workout for the mind, body and spirit.
If you haven’t visited the library lately, take a look and don’t be afraid to give us feedback or critique. If you are looking for a class and are unable to find it, send us an EMAIL and we will be sure to get that session posted!
We feel we have been as nimble and flexible as any company in the Bay Area during this time, and we will continue to innovate and find ways to bring you the most value as we navigate, together, the remainder of 2020 and what it holds.
We are with you every step of the way and we greatly appreciate your loyalty, commitment, and understanding. Thank you for keeping us working hard and keeping yourself labarre strong.
Laura has been with labarre for a little nearly a year and a half now and this staple of our community is also one of our shiniest examples of positivity and kindness.
The youngest of 4, Laura grew up in Alabama. Her father, a preacher, had the family relocating a little bit along the Southeast portion of the United States, but her Southern roots kept Laura grounded as she left home for college.
This new chapter meant moving across the country and settling in California where Wilson was offered a position at a high school, teaching English. “He then got a job doing music at a church. He’s all over with the instruments he plays; Guitar, banjo, piano… he can pick up anything… he’s a prodigy!”
Her path to fitness began prior to her move out west. In high school, Laura enjoyed basketball, volleyball and tennis and once she enrolled in college, to stay active, she took up running and Pilates.
Yearning for activity once she settled in California, Pilates reentered Laura’s life and a barre studio sparked her interest in different disciplines of fitness. Barre, however, ignited a true connection of the mind and the body to help engage her in her workouts and it was a move to the Rose Garden that brought her to labarre studios on The Alameda.
“The studio (labarre) was more diverse in its clientele than the other barre studio I had worked out at and it was affordable. I loved it… I was all in. So much so that after taking classes for a year I decided to take the barre instructor training.”
That transition from student to teacher is always an interesting one for those who make the leap and for Laura it was “great, but intimidating. I always said I could never be a teacher at any level and I took that as an opportunity. I had to do it. The community and the training are great. Lisa (labarre’s owner and founder) was very empowering. It was surprisingly better than I could have imagined. When I was in the training with everyone, I immediately noticed that we all shared the same goal and that was to strengthen our bodies and minds. I didn’t feel like I had to fit a specific mold, there was no cookie-cutter instructors. Again, labarre’s diversity was what drew me to it.”
Recently, Laura and Wilson have welcomed an addition to the family… a baby boy! (as a matter of fact, she is prepping all expectant moms with amazing pre-natal classes… which are free to ALL right HERE!)
With so many great instructors at labarre, how does a member differentiate them? What makes Laura’s classes – in person or virtual – special?
“My classes are light-hearted. They are fun but can also get intense. I will make you sweat if you come to class but not in a boot camp sense… You are going to sweat but I won’t yell at you.” Laura says with a laugh.
Those classes have helped Laura to have a great perspective during these challenging times.
“I am seeing the power of the labarre community as everyone is motivating each other.” Laura said. “The choice to do online classes that are live, show the strength of working out together. Anyone can take a YouTube class by themselves, but the connection of the community is so strong. That is the difference. People miss people. They’d rather connect online than not connect at all and that is powerful.”
When she is not breaking down exactly how we all feel, perfectly, Laura is patiently waiting for life to return to normal so she can do the things she loves. Besides being outdoors, backpacking and camping, she and Wilson love travelling and connecting with friends and loved ones… soon, we hope we can all do that.
We recently sent out an email to all of our subscribers that was directly from the heart. As a business owner, community member, wife, daughter and most importantly, a mom, I wanted to re-share this for those who may have missed it. Thank you for taking the time to read.
Three years ago, labarre studios was founded with the vision to touch as many lives as possible through fitness and wellness programs. We envisioned a community living in peaceful balance in which every person lives strong in their bodies, happy in their minds and confident in their spirit. Where every person knows and feels that labarre and its loyal community has their back.
Our team has been committed to our core values of unity and diversity, however, observing the events over that past few weeks has made it painfully obvious that we simply have to do more in our fight for equality.
We have spent this time listening to our employees, guests, and community. We have chosen to not be silent; Black lives matter and we will act and fight for an anti-racist world. We have already begun to take action.
· We are creating an internship program promoting
underrepresented groups in barre fitness.
· We are re-directing our product lines towards black
business owners and educating ourselves on options in this area.
· We will mirror our beliefs in our messaging by adding
an equality statement and logo to our company’s foundation.
· We will honor and observe Juneteenth every year.
· We are seeking organizations to share with our guests
(see buttons below.)
As we continue to serve the community we ask that you find what you are passionate about, here are some great organizations to start with.
Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation.
Bring The H.E.A.T. is an organized intervention to protect the basic health, safety, and well-being of all people by demanding a series of immediate and sweeping changes to the current policing system in the United States
The BIPOC Project aims to build authentic and lasting solidarity among Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), in order to undo Native invisibility, anti-Blackness, dismantle white supremacy and advance racial justice.
The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
The most important way to change the world starts right HERE.
We know there are many more organizations, people and movements that are making sweeping changes. Please let us know who and what they are so we can continue to share with our community!
From my family to yours, let's make a change together.
~ Lisa Alberino, Founder & Owner
2020 has ushered in exciting times at labarre studios. The Gold Barre Standard Challenge was introduced as the calendar flipped to the new decade and with it debuted the studio’s first year-long challenge.
A great deal of thought and energy went into crafting the Gold Barre Standard Challenge as it needed to achieve a few key goals. We wanted it to be both beneficial and functional. To be clearer, it had to deliver the results our members expect and it would have to be sustainable over the course of a calendar year. We also wanted to encourage our new guests to be able to join in throughout the year, so they could participate in the fun and enjoy the benefits of taking classes 3+ times per week.
What was the best way for me to assure that the challenge would hold its water? Personally, be a part of it and experience the journey as a participant, not a bystander.
This is a great question to ask and the answer is simple; It challenges us to be our best while keeping life exciting! Setting events to look forward to and, more importantly, setting goals for yourself will help you move in the right direction, while experiencing more enjoyment out of life. Whether it is your career, family or physique, goals are a great way to challenge the mind, body and spirit.
Just like other goals we set, the Gold Barre Standard Challenge is realistic and considers things that can be deemed as setbacks. Illness, injury, vacation, career pressures, family… all of these are accounted for and weighed as the labarre equipe fashioned a doable, but difficult challenge for you so that your membership works to achieve the results you had hoped for when you first entered the studio.
A refresher on how it works, we begin the challenge on the 17th of each month with attending 14 classes is the set goal. This structure even allows for members to miss a full month without falling short of achieving the challenge. We know! We get it!
For more context, I want to share my personal journey along the Gold Barre Standard Challenge. I finished December and the beginning of January strong, taking classes almost daily. Frankly, I was on a roll … and then I hurt my back while putting away Christmas decorations.
It happens to us all … I was rushing trying to get too much done with too little time. I reached over to pick up a heavy bin while bending and twisting and I felt my disc slip out of place in my lower back. No carols, mistletoe or sugar plum fairies, just pain and setback. I have a history of lower-back disc challenges and I have had a herniated, bulging and even a ripped disc in my lower back L3-L5. Amazingly, I am able to manage my back injuries with barre-inspired workouts and many of you may not even realize this is part of my life.
Barre is gentle while strengthening the body and even with injury, is an activity that can be done daily to improve such ailments. The tough part for me, though, is to remember proper body mechanics while doing everyday activities that are “automatic.” Simple actions like making beds, emptying the dishwasher, loading and unloading the groceries from the trunk, and the one that seems to sneak up on me when I don’t pay attention… working in my garden.
The point is we can typically experience injury when we are not being mindful.
This time, however, luck and years of barre fitness were on my side as I had a positive and speedy recovery. I immediately went to see our Acupuncturist, Angelica Acton, and I was teaching within days of my injury. Within one week, I was feeling exceptionally well. Luckily, this afforded me the time to get in my 14 classes for January and even I was amazed with how quickly my body recovered. (Again, a shout out the heavens for Angelica’s Acupuncture techniques!)
Your story may be different. Again, setbacks might occur in the form of time, commitments or injury. But those obstacles are not insurmountable and we want to be here to help. The labarre community and all who have partaken in the Gold Barre Standard Challenge are in the same boat: We have a goal and we are here to reach it, together.
Let this be a little motivation to keep pushing to design yourself and achieve the goals you originally set out to accomplish. Need a little more motivation? Take a look at these fabulous guests that are tracking well through the challenge… or should we call them our Gold Barre Stars! See you at labarre!
Prior to receiving his degree, Lee’s love for massage was preceded by an extreme
interest in health, diet and nutrition as he experienced health problems in his earlier
years. Looking to make changes in his lifestyle, Chuck astutely chose to begin with
a change in diet and the food that he would consume.
Through self-discipline, perseverance and research, this would only begin to be a
transformative time for Lee and one that would lead him down a path that would
begin to focus on wellness for both himself and others.
Healthier choices slowly healed his body and soon an interest in meditation and
yoga would follow.
That practice received its initial hands-on spark from a friend and mentor Lee trained
with a few years ago.
After Chuck felt a small clicking in his hip from strength training and calisthenics,
his friend asked if he could work on it to relieve him of the pain.
“That was my first experience with massage therapy. One that was oriented in giving
peoples results, specifically more functional range of motion and removing blockages
that were hindering me from training better. It was great and it changed how I viewed
His friend had learned a great deal both in the states and in China and shared the
information. That inspired Lee and thus his journey began.
“That’s when my eyes were opened into the world of healing. We live in a society that
is so much ‘go go go’ all the time, that we really forget to do minor adjustments that
would make a difference in the longevity of our body and just feeling ‘right.’
It propelled me in to the world where I wanted to further my education and
He’s been practicing for a few years and that hard work led him to labarre studios.
“It was really great timing and it synchronized perfectly. I wanted to be in a professional setting and use my skills. I wanted to put myself in the right place and I found labarre.
I came across many places that weren’t for me. I didn’t want to be limited in what I was
able to do for clients. I wanted a place that allowed me the freedom to offer a lot of
different modalities, and came across labarre on line and quickly reached out to Lisa
“We had a great deal of candidates when Chuck reached out.” Lisa Alberino notes. “As we build our wellness services and ultimately the ecosystem for the studio,
it is paramount that we get the best, most passionate people in here who excel
at their discipline. I initially put Chuck on hold as I was looking at the candidates,
but simply was taken by how professional and thorough he was. Then we met
and I knew he was a perfect fit for the people that call the studio home and the
rest of the equipe here at labarre.”
“Comfortable, secure, professional and relaxing” are a few words Chuck used to describe
labarre studios and the massage therapy area he now calls home.
“I truly stress comfort and how comfortable I want the client to be … as massage can
be a vulnerable experience.” Chuck wants them to be worry-free in their choice and he
also points out that his hope is each and every client feels that he cares personally for
them, their body and what they are looking to achieve in the sessions.
“Understanding the history of what their body has been through is key. Knowing
where it is today and where therapy can take it is very important and I am here to help.
We have very specific goals we set before we begin and, after the session is completed,
we get a post-session review and report. It matters and I want to be here to help
them through anything they need.”
With so many choices in San Jose alone, why come visit labarre and Chuck Lee?
One word, “Intuition” as Lee explains.
Chuck has an Intuitive sense of the inner working of his own body and by a greater
understanding of the guests he will get in tune with their body and needs and,
along with their comfort to share what they are looking to accomplish, Chuck seems
to get to another level with those guests who will allow Chuck to tackle their needs.
“Working on patients means gaining valuable information about how they feel and
respond to the therapy and techniques that I use.” Different techniques work better
for some people and really listening to their body and being mindful of the sessions is
what separates the good therapists from the great.
Lee concludes, “It is simply about being sensitive to how they feel.”
When he is not working with a client, Chuck is enjoying life. A lover of music, specifically hip hop. Chuck loves to be entertained and enjoys creating music himself. His
favorite influencers in the genre are J. Cole Logic, Royce the 59.
If it is time to get your body in tune, we suggest you connect with Chuck Lee!
To learn more, simply click HERE.
“When I was working with my past employer, I would return home after a long day and realized I was missing out. I was missing my son grow up (Alex, her only child at the time) There was time only for dinner, a book and then bedtime with him. It was time for a change.” That change began a new chapter that Melissa is writing on a daily basis.
Pascua found someone who had perfected her craft in lashes and she acted as a mentor and beacon for Melissa’s second career. After checking out schools to further this new found passion, Melissa made the bold move and began to go headfirst in to her calling. “I started going to night school while I was working and did that for a year and Lissa’s Lashes was created!” The move would not be without its rewards. Nearly a decade later, this Bay Area veteran has a great client base and it will continue growing as she recently decked out a new space at 1445 The Alameda!
The connection to labarre was through a once member now the studios community program coordinator and instructor, Leilani Borer. Leilani introduced Pascua to the studio and sparked her interest in the drumming classes that are held on Fridays. After attending drumming and a few other classes, Melissa fell in love with the space and realized an opportunity was available.
Melissa noted “I got really lucky, labarre is so pretty and the equipe are all wonderful. The client experience is very important to me. I want clients to feel comfortable, relaxed and safe, all in a clean space. My studio in labarre is key for that and I just love it.”
Melissa primarily focuses on classic lashes, volume and volume mixed lashes (which both give a fuller look, she notes) but her goal is to have people “look natural when they leave the house, with or without makeup.” On top of lashes, Melissa offers a variety of facials, chemical peels and waxing.
With knowledge, dedication and skill, Melissa makes the most of her time with her clients… and her family when she is lucky enough to break free.
“When I am not working we plan family fun days. Our family definitely loves the beach, Monterey, park hopping, museums, hikes, you name it.” Both of her boys are in Jiu Jitsu so that keeps them active as do the Cub Scouts. With the flexibility to be involved in the boys’ everyday lives, Melissa and Danny are making the most of every family opportunity.
How does Pascua describe her craft to those who have not tried it? “When someone is new I walk them through what I will be doing before they get a service and I tailor the experience to them during consultation. Facials run 30-75min. A full set lashes, could take 2-3.5 hours and after that touch ups run about an hour. A lot of people take that time for themselves… I tell them that this is your time to nap, relax, listen to some music or chat!”
Want to be one of those lucky customers, check Lissa’s Lashes out right here!
California born and raised, Angelica has been an acupuncturist, believe it or not, since she was a child! “I was lucky enough that my dad was an acupuncturist and traveled from Boston to Japan, where he also met my mom, to pursue his calling.” Angelica explains.
“My mom and dad met in Osaka, Japan, and that is where he quenched his thirst for this knowledge; the knowledge of healing the body in a more natural way. There are great holistic ways to heal like physical therapy” Angelica continues, “and like therapy, acupuncture helps us avoid side effects and invasive healing processes that come from medicine.”
As a kid she practiced on her dad and she “lived and breathed acupuncture.” That is where Angelica decided this would be her passion as well.
“It is very modern, and it is instituted in hospitals, health care plans and it is very applicable.”
Her training to become an acupuncturist included complete immersion in Chinese medicine and manifested itself in a 4-year master’s degree from Five Branches University located in Santa Cruz, CA. Because of California’s strict education laws, acupuncturists have to dive deep and learn western medicine, orthopedics, herbs, diagnosis and more. Though the entire process, Angelica was hands on, training and treating the whole way through at different levels. Angelica’s expertise is extensive but furthering that proficiency is important to her and she looks to continue on and receive a doctorate in the discipline. Praising its practicality and popularity, Angelica states, “It’s really a wonderful integrated medicine and we are considered primary healthcare providers.”
Practicing for over half a decade, Angelica is a veteran in her craft and has a tremendous number of hours under her belt. This fully-licensed practitioner is experienced in how she treats patients, both in their physical and mental needs.
“I base my treatment on the patient. I might have five different patients who come in with seemingly the same challenge, but I may have a different plan for each one. Each treatment is adhered to individual people. Everything is tailored to the individual.”
Angelica continues on about the benefits of acupuncture and dispels myths about it being painful or mysterious.
“It is very calming… people feel relaxed and meditative. It’s understandable that people believe it might be painful prior to receiving treatment but once they take part in it, it’s a different story. People tend to feel rested and rest is so important to the healing process.”
After connecting with Angelica the question that seems to be on everyone’s mind… How DOES Acupuncture work?
Explaining it perfectly, Angelica illuminated us.
“It creates a micro-trauma, a stimulus inside the skin, and it tells the body to increase circulation into that area, manipulating the body’s own capacity to heal in order to address issues we want addressed. It increases white blood cell count in that area, and it increases the vessel capacity. It also allows the body to pull away waste from a particular area. It really is a biomechanical process and it is stemmed in very ancient medicine but it has a very western way that it works.”
Angelica continues, “Acupuncture has multiple benefits. It works with stress management and digestion. It works with abdominals and digestive points which helps circulate blood flow, working with the immune system and releasing endorphins. People sometimes don’t realize that these areas heal the body in many ways.”
One fascinating fact that came from the conversation with labarre’s newest service provider was that facial rejuvenation acupuncture is a ‘thing.’
“All of the channels we use in Chinese medicine… they eventually go to the face. The face is the reflection of the body. The glimmer in people’s eyes and their face reflects how they feel. You can tell how someone feels simply by looking at them and acupuncture can help you look and feel better.”
If you are a weekend warrior and have nagging injuries or simply need a boost, we urge you to set up a consultation with Angelica. If you have never tried acupuncture but are interested or if you are looking to continue on care that you are already getting, this is a great opportunity for a face to face connect with one of the Bay Area’s best.
Enjoy the newest service from labarre and find new ways to design yourself. Click here for more information about Juniper Acupuncture!