When Lauren Filocco attended the University of Maryland, she said she struggled to find local fitness options other than the university's gyms. Now, nearly five years after she graduated, she is opening one of her own.
OpenBarre, a new fitness studio located above Starbucks in the College Park Shopping Center, will open Saturday with an open house from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Filocco aims to provide a unique workout experience that incorporates pilates, yoga and ballet with other exercises like squats and planks, she said.
"Barre is not dance so much as it is a low-impact workout," she said. "It takes elements of ballet and it incorporates it into the workout, but you absolutely don't need to be a dancer to do it."
Filocco holds two barre certifications and is one of five instructors who will teach classes at the studio. The other four instructors are current university students.
Freshman Morgan Williams said she has always wanted to work as a fitness instructor, and is excited to be a part of a "new and different" kind of exercise studio.
"The training was definitely difficult — I'm still really sore — but it was definitely rewarding," the economics major said.
Senior public health science major Samantha Curbelo said barre appealed to her because of her background in dance and its workout benefits.
"It really is good for people who work out every day, but also people who never work out," Curbelo said. "Even though you're not running or doing cardio, you're still getting a great endurance workout for your muscles, which is really important."
Since Filocco is an alumna, she is offering a discount to anyone with a University of Maryland ID card, including faculty and staff.
College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn said the new business could impact the city in a positive way.
"They're a welcome addition," Wojahn said. "We're always actively looking for businesses that will serve the needs of College Park residents."
During Saturday's open house, students and residents can visit the studio to get familiar with the environment before taking classes, Filocco said. The instructors may also demonstrate a barre routine and teach visitors a little bit about the fitness program, she added.
"I hope that [the studio] helps make College Park students feel more comfortable with their bodies and their well-being," Filocco said. "Barre is a great stress reliever in addition to being a good workout."
People can sign up for classes at the open house or on the studio's website. There are four types of barre classes offered.
"We've made a really big effort to create a calming environment, and we want to spread that throughout College Park," Filocco concluded. "We are excited to be here, and we hope to be here for a long time."
Staff writer Laura Spitalniak contributed to this report.