We have been receiving many stories after my initial posting of this blog about a month ago. The stories have not only been beyond inspirational for me but also, frankly, mind blowing to grasp the depth and importance that the studio has brought to so many who are proud to call themselves part of its community. Below is one from one of the most brilliant and kind people ever to grace our floor. Please take a few moments to enjoy.
I’m not one for hyperboles, so believe me when I say this: Labarre Studios saved my life.
I discovered Labarre in the summer of 2018. I was scouring Craig’s List, looking for a summer job, when I came across a listing for a part time childcare attendant. I had experience with kids and I saw that the job benefits included a free membership. As a dancer looking to stay active that summer, that perk sealed the deal. I applied, interviewed with Lisa, and was hired. What I thought was going to be just a way to take free classes and meet cute kids, turned into a family and community that has changed my life over the past four years.
In the Spring of 2019, I was at college in New York when my mental health began to slip. I fell into a depression so deep, I completed the last six weeks of the semester from home in California. While most of my friends spent that summer with internships, I knew that I had to focus on healing. That involved lots of conversations with my therapist, but it also meant heading back to Labarre, where Lisa and Sara welcomed me with open arms. The summer of 2019 at Labarre most certainly saved my life. There were so many times that I felt suicidal and was literally pulled out of a hole by walking into that studio and taking a deep breath. That summer, Lisa encouraged me to become a certified instructor. The training and Lisa’s guidance gave me a newfound purpose that continued to tamp down my depression and bring out my old, happy self.
The summer of 2019 alone would justify me calling Labarre a life-saver, but anyone who knows the studio knows that Labarre is never there for you just once.
Come spring of 2020, I was home for the shutdown. Lisa asked me if I would teach virtual classes and I readily agreed. For the first six weeks of quarantine, I taught a barre class every single day. Only two or three were through LaBarre, but on my days off, I would teach classes for my family and friends over zoom. That hour was a way for me to connect with my friends in other states and get my body moving after spending the day sitting in front of a computer.
I am a big fan of talking about mental health and am a true believer in the importance of therapy and medication. I don’t believe that having good friends or taking walks is enough to cure my depression. But I am confident that LaBarre played a major role in my recovery. The combination of physical activity, positive thinking, and a supportive community, filled the dark gaps the medication couldn’t reach. Whether I was taking an 8:00pm HIIT or teaching a 7:15am barre, my soul was being healed in that studio.
In May of 2020, I moved across the country for work and have not returned to San Jose for longer than 3 months. I have had amazing career opportunities in campaigns and now in Congress. But still, LaBarre remains the best job I have ever had. Not just my time as an instructor, but my time behind the front desk. Lisa and Sara have built a team that truly feels like a family. Furthermore, they prioritized my growth as a person and an employee by consistently granting me additional responsibilities and allowing me to use my previous skills in new ways to help the studio.
I am currently living in Washington DC, but I know that in a few years I will be making my way back to San Jose. I have no doubt in my mind that when I do, I will be able to walk right back into LaBarre and pick up where I left off — after updating my training certification, of course!