Studio Barre coming to downtown Great Falls

Keely Baker is breathing life into the old World Wide Press building on 3rd Street South downtown.

Great Falls’ first Studio Barre will be opening in September in part of the first floor of the building at 112 3rd St. S.

The studio will be the 18th for the Studio Barre franchise and the local studio will be managed by Baker and her mom, Sheree West.

Baker was a runner in college and had injury after injury. After a knee surgery when she couldn’t run, a friend invited her to a barre class in Bozeman.

“I went and I died and I was hooked,” Baker said of the workout.

Since she started doing barre regularly, Baker said she hasn’t had an injury in the last four years and said she runs farther and faster.

“It literally has saved my body,” the 26-year-old Great Falls native said.

Earlier this month, Baker won the Missoula Marathon.

“After seven years, I’m still as in love with it as when I first took a class,” she said.

Barre is blend of Pilates and ballet among other styles. It’s low impact, but effective exercise, she said, with workouts designed to target and strengthen certain muscle groups.

“It’s so new and different for Great Falls,” Baker said.

Baker and her husband were both born and raised in Great Falls and decided to stay. Baker will teach barre classes and continue teaching second grade at West Elementary School.

Her husband, Casey Baker, also has a small family owned cabinetry business in town and she said there have been a lot of resources and opportunities for those who want to start their own businesses in Great Falls.

The building owner, Tim Murphy, helped her work through the city process and she took a class at the Great Falls Development Authority on running a small business. Baker said Andy Ferrin of the downtown business improvement district had been helpful in guiding her through the grants available to new businesses downtown.

But it still takes internal drive to start a new business.

“For me, it was a dream and I couldn’t stop thinking about it,” Baker said.

If she didn’t go for it, Baker said she didn’t want to later look back and wish she’d taken the leap or someone else would beat her to it and she’d wish she’d done it.

“If you have a dream, you have to act on it,” she said.

Bozeman has three barre studios, so Baker thought, Great Falls can have one too.

Over the weekend, Baker and the Studio Barre corporate officials held auditions in Great Falls and hired five instructors from the local area. Those five women have completely different backgrounds and range in age from 24 to nearly 50.

People don’t have to be in shape to take her classes, Baker said, but can come to class to get in shape.

Baker said she hears women say “I’m too old” for barre classes.

“You’re not,” Baker said.

The classes are low impact and for all ages and fitness levels.

Mostly the classes use the ballet barre, but also use other tools like light weights, body bands. Mostly, it’s small isometric movements to target muscles.

Every three months the choreography changes and the music playlist changes regularly so “no one gets bored with the same routine and your muscles never get used to it,” Baker said.

There will be 6-8 classes daily and some on weekends, with a variety of membership and class pass options.

Baker has a few special events and promotions planned for the coming months to celebrate their opening. Those will be posted on their Facebook and Instagram pages.