Neighborhood Barre brings ‘a new form’

Katy Richardson, founder of Neighborhood Barre studios, is bringing a new form of fitness to Farragut.

Richardson, who owns and operates studios off Northshore Drive and in Bearden, is planning to open her eighth studio the first of February at 11672 Parkside Drive, in the same shopping center as Publix, in Farragut.

“I think [the studio] will be a good addition to the town of Farragut,” she said.

Richardson grew up involved in outdoor-type sports and cheered through high school and college. After finishing college at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., she started doing yoga and subsequently teaching yoga. At the same time, she worked as a corporate accountant for Vulcan Materials Company, which has one of its division offices in Knoxville.

“I suffered a neck and shoulder injury when I was cheering, so I started seeking forms of exercise that have no impact on the body,” she said. Richardson started with yoga then Pilates and became a certified yoga instructor.

“That led me into discovering barre fitness, which was a newer kind of workout,” she said.

There are lots of different techniques, and Richardson said she trained in and studied different techniques to come up with the Neighborhood Barre technique.

“Our technique consists of dance fundamentals but no actual dancing — we try not to use any dance terms — and we have a heavy Pilates influence and we use isometric exercises mixed with full-range moves,” she said.

The technique has an integral cardio effect and high-calorie burn, which can be hard to find in a traditional barre studio, Richardson said. “Our workout spans a wide variety of ages and fitness levels. It is safe for pre- and post-natal clients, and we’ll be providing free childcare during select class times.

“I would say most of the people who attend our studios use [our method] as their main form of exercise since they get both strength training and cardio in one class,” she said. “But, it’s also a great complement to any other form of exercise, especially running and cycling, because there is no impact on the body.”

While Barre exercises have been around since the 1970s, Richardson said they have not become mainstream until the mid-2000s.

Barre exercise is considered its own form of exercise even though most barre techniques derive off of elements of more familiar forms of exercises, such as yoga, Pilates, dance conditioning and strength training.

Richardson said she researched different barre techniques and the business end of boutique fitness in general before she decided Knoxville would be a good place to start her first studio.

She moved to Knoxville from Birmingham in August 2011 then opened that studio in winter 2011 at 2099 Thunderhead Road in Northshore Town Center. She opened her second studio in 2013 at 4445 Kingston Pike in Western Plaza shopping center in Bearden.

“As we opened the Western Plaza studio, we sold the first franchise in Birmingham, Ala.,” she said. “Since then, we have sold franchises to buyers in Nashville, Chattanooga, Arlington, Va., and Maryville.”

Richardson said she has had a lot of Farragut residents try the Northshore studio.

“We felt the Farragut market was strong enough to support its own studio,” she said. “We also like that our new location is only three minutes from Hardin Valley, so it becomes more convenient for that area of town as well.”

Neighborhood Barre will have classes from early morning to evening, but she said it is best to make reservations in advance by mobile app for iPhone and Android phones but appointments also can be made online at or by e-mailing to