Crash Course: Lava Barre is a high-end boutique barre studio located in Clarendon. Their “Lava Burn” class is a 45 minute express version of their signature hour-long Lava Barre class, but with less stretching and quicker transitions. Expect all of the traditional leg, thigh, and booty blasting action found in other barre classes, served with a side of upper body weights and abs. You will definitely feel the burn, so come prepared to have a sore derrière the following day. Check out a full list of class times and types at Lava Barre.
bring: socks with no-slip bottoms
perks: cold scented towels, baby changing station, child care option
sweat score: 4 out of 10
cost: drop in rate is $24
Lava Barre has been on my list to crash for quite some time now. I have heard rave reviews from so many friends and readers that it was impossible not to make the trip to Clarendon to see what they were oogling about. First things first, I had to find the place. Easier said than done! The studio is seriously tucked away, located on the second floor of the inconspicuous, no frills building you see above. There aren’t any discernible Lava Barre decals from the street, so you have to know where you’re going. Watch for the big “Saffron” sign – a dance studio located in the same building – and you’ll be going in the right direction. If you are driving (as I did) don’t park in the lot adjacent to the building (which would be convenient) – the studio recommends trying to find metered parking behind the Northside Social coffee house or on the street.
When you enter the building, the first floor hosts the Saffron dance studio. I was greeted by a group of ladies whirling about in bellydance costumes and scarfs. While I would love to go back for a crash, something told me that was not the studio I came for this evening. I found a flight of stairs and was thankfully transported to the calm, spa-like oasis of the Lava Barre space. It is really beautifully decorated, with calm lighting, fresh cuts of flowers, and the kind of furniture I’d be happy to host in my apartment any day. One thing that struck me right off the bat – it is teeny tiny and gets crowded quickly before class. There didn’t seem to be a lot of space to store belongings, so I ended up just piling mine in an empty corner.
There are two bathrooms, one with a baby changing station stocked with rows of diapers – and the front desk is located to the right. When I signed in, I was greeted with a calm and sincere “Hello, we’re so happy you’re here, how was your day?” by Lauren, one of the owners. Talk about classy – I was really impressed with the level of sincerity and interest. Made me feel right at home and like we were old friends. Love it.
There is only one barre studio space and classes are capped at 15 students, so the entire experience from start to finish feels very personal. The studio itself was really lovely, with small topiaries hanging out outside the windows, gleaming wood floors, and fun artwork hanging on the walls. For our class, we wasted no time and got right down to work. We only had 45 minutes and the we were going to use every minute to tuck and lift, and tuck and lift. One thing to note: wood floor is incredibly shiny and beautiful, but also very slippery, so remember to bring socks with grips on the bottom. You can buy them at the studio or find them at any athletic store. I got mine from Lucy.
Things that I loved about Lava:
- The small class size
- Personalized attention from the instructor that helped me correct my moves and get the most out of each lift and tuck
- The entire space – although tiny – is beautiful
- Lava Barre is a welcoming place for moms with their prenatal workout program, baby changing stations in the bathrooms, and a child care option during class
Things I wasn’t so keen on:
- The price. Barre classes in DC are some of the city’s most expensive workouts – I have yet to figure out why exactly that is. If you have an idea, please let me know, because I continue to be baffled with $24 – $25 classes popping up. It’s fun to go occasionally here and there, but at least for me, it’s not a cost effective way to get in shape on my budget.
- The tiny space is beautiful (see above). But it can also feel crowded, especially when we were all taking off coats, boots, and milling about before class started. Not a huge deal, but something to consider.
Thank you to the lovely ladies at Lava Barre for hosting my crash! And a huge thank you to Amber (not pictured) for joining me for her first barre experience (after 2 back to back spin classes…beast!).
What are your thoughts on barre being a “luxury” workout?