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Scene in Manchester: A no-holds-barred workout right on Elm Street

August 10. 2014 9:16PM

Last week I spent 45 minutes at an Elm Street bar and left feeling strong, sweaty and toned. This bar — obviously not the kind you drink at — is the kind ballet dancers use, called a barre. It’s all part of the latest exercise craze which has finally reached Manchester at Barre Life studio at 944 Elm St.

Owner Britni Baron moved from Gilford to Manchester in April, and opened Barre Life in June.

“It’s going well,” she said after a recent Tuesday night class that required me to do more squats than I thought was humanly possible.

The small studio overlooking Elm Street looks just like a ballet studio, with a wooden floor, one wall with floor-to-ceiling mirrors and a wooden bar that fits up to 10 students comfortably.

Baron said she has been dancing since she was 3 years old, and was a cheerleader for the New England Patriots for three of her four years as a student at University of New Hampshire. After graduating in 2011, she worked as a fitness instructor for several companies and, after becoming Balanced Body Barre certified, decided to open Barre Life.

Baron said the type of barre she teaches is more fitness-focused than some other barre studios may offer. The class I took incorporated light weights and resistance balls into basic ballet positions as well as other yoga and Pilates moves. To put it mildly, if you have ever wanted to “feel the burn” a Barre Life class is for you. It is also for people who want to exercise without a lot of jumping around. The class is fast-paced, but easy on the joints.

Barre life currently offers 14 different barre classes during the week. Baron plans to add more offerings in the fall, including boot camp. Individual classes are $12, with savings offered with multi-class punch cards. See the full schedule and price options at

Don’t forget to donate

My friend Jeff McPherson, a member of the team at Silvertech, recently posted this on his Facebook page.

“Based on my Facebook feed the fight for ALS has raised 0 dollars and caused hypothermia to 36 people and a shortage of ice ...”

If you are a Facebook user, you have no doubt seen video of countless friends and family members dumping buckets of ice water over their heads and challenging others to either do the same within 24 hours, or donate money to a specific charity. From what I can tell, the viral stunt has been going on for a few months, and in our neck of the social media woods, everyone is doing it to raise awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

I recently filmed my friend Mary Beth Scimemi dousing herself with ice water and challenging our friend Heather Miville to do the same. Within an hour, Miville had completed the challenge and called me out to do it too.

The ice water challenge has been taken on by local and national celebrities and politicians. Not surprisingly, Senate candidate Scott Brown participated, wisely keeping his shirt on for this one.

The whole thing certainly has many people talking about ALS, a horrible, degenerative disease. But, as McPherson’s post pointed out, those of us accepting the challenge should consider donating some money too, to help find a cure and support those suffering from ALS.

After taking the challenge, I made an online donation to the New England chapter of the ALS Association. McPherson said when he is inevitably challenged, he will do the same. If you have enjoyed partaking in or watching these challenges as much as I have, please consider donating too.

Mighty Mac grace period

I almost cried when I visited the McIntyre Ski Area website last week to purchase my son’s season pass. The early bird rate for a junior pass is a huge $60 savings, but when I got to the site, I saw that I missed the deadline. The website said the early bird rate was only good until Aug. 1.

I decided to click on the purchase link anyway, in hopes that someone had forgotten to change the price. And they had. I quickly purchased the pass before the McIntyre staff wised up to their mistake.

Turns out I am not as sneaky as I thought. Later that day, I received an email newsletter announcing the early bird rates had been extended through Aug. 15, to give everyone away on summer vacation more time to get the deal. Don’t miss out, like I almost did.

NH365.ORG Event of the Week

Families are invited to gather around the campfire along the banks of the Merrimack River to hear traditional Native American tales at Amoskeag Fishways on Friday at 7 p.m. The cost is just $5 per family. Pre-register by calling 626-3474, and visit to find more fun things to do in and around the Queen City.

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