ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Susanne Lannon, Maria Freni-Nigro, Alyssa VanVeghten and Shelia Chandler work on the chair pose under the direction of Michelle Nigro, second from left, the owner of Town Barre.
BY GAYLA CAWLEY
LYNN — A former New England Patriots cheerleader is kicking the city into shape.
Swampscott resident Michelle Nigro, 26, has expanded her fitness business into Lynn and is offering morning classes. She is leasing gym space at Velocity Fitness and is certified to teach barre, a mix of ballet, pilates and yoga.
Last fall, she opened Town Barre, offering classes in rented space in Marblehead and Swampscott. She’s also added a new element, including TRX, which incorporates suspension bands.
“I didn’t see any other gyms that offered barre yet, so I was super excited to say I was the first to bring barre to Lynn,” she said.
Still, there are other local areas to practice barre. Pure Barre, in Lynnfield, offers classes, along with Barre N9NE Studio in Danvers. Burn Barre is also a session offered at Burn Marblehead.
In her first year, she outgrew her studio space in Marblehead and is now teaching at Marblehead Fitness Center. Her other classes are at Studio 21 in Swampscott. She has increased the classes she offers, holding 10 sessions between the two towns and four in Lynn, with plans to add more in the city. For now, she’s the only instructor, but plans to add another one in the fall.
A single class is $16.
Nigro’s method is based on the Bootybarre, which uses larger and smaller movements, but said she puts her own spin on it. The barre, light weights and resistance bands are incorporated to work the arms, legs, buttocks, back and a person’s flexibility. Nigro said barre is low impact, hard on muscles, but easy on joints.
“I love that anyone can do it because it’s easy on joints,” she said. “I also love that it’s harder than people think.”
Nigro cheered for the Patriots while a student at Emerson College. The 2015 Super Bowl was the last game she cheered when New England beat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24. She took barre classes with her teammates. Before that, she danced from a young age and played high school sports.
Since expanding her fitness business, she quit her job at a public relations firm.
“I was just so much happier doing this,” Nigro said.
Gayla Cawley can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.