Jessica Alier always loved to dance. With a professional history that includes a stint as an Orlando Magic dancer and appearances in music videos and on MTV, her natural knack for the graceful art was one that drew her back after she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Florida and tried her hand in the corporate world.
“I just felt like there was a piece of dance missing in my life,” she says. “I had my resume out in North Carolina, and when I got hired with Pure Barre and after teaching for two years, I decided to make it my goal to open a studio in Miami.”
Two years later, she made that dream a reality when the she and her partner, Ami Seier – who was initially her instructor in North Carolina and who herself owns three locations in the Tar heel State – opened their first studio at 205 Altara Ave. in Coral Gables last September.
Pure Barre was founded in 2001 by current CEO Carrie Dorr, who is a professional dancer and choreographer as well as an attorney. While in college, law school and during her professional years litigating, she continued pursuing her passion in fitness and inevitably left her law practice to open her first studio in Detroit. Following a move to the west coast and becoming a franchise, Pure Barre has now spread to more than 100 locations in 26 states, with a passionate focus on transforming a woman’s body through intensive workouts. Although they encourage men to join and participate, Pure Barre’s exercise regimen was definitely designed with the fairer sex in mind.
“Men are encouraged to try our program, and some have come out and taken classes, however our exercises definitely target problem areas for women, such as the inner thighs, the back of the arms, the stomach and the feet,” Alier says. “It’s just a challenging workout for anyone who decides to take the class.”
Classes last 55 minutes, begin with an intense warm-up to increase heart rate and then target specific areas for focused sculpting. There are no machines involved – just free weights, a small balance ball and a mat – so workouts are extremely lowimpact and, as a result, very accessible for pregnant women or for those who have a history of injury.
“Our classes have enough space to accommodate pregnant women,” Alier says. “There’s no pounding or jumping, and it helps rebuild strength and flexibility.”
Incorporating elements of yoga, Pilates and ballet, Pure Barre Miami and the five instructors on staff not only offer standard fitness classes, but also provide baby bounce-back programs and bride-to-be exercise sessions.