• by Sarah Teach •
We all know someone like her: she’s that leggy woman with the long, slender arms, tight abs, and poised countenance. What’s her secret? It very well could be The Figure Method™ of Go Figure Barre Studios. Twelve years ago, classically trained ballerina Cindy Sites opened a studio where she introduced her brainchild to Greenwich, Connecticut. Since then, Sites’ techniques have exploded in popularity, and she has expanded her business to 13 locations that range from the original Greenwich location down to Florida and all the way out to Arizona. A few years ago, requests started pouring in from devotees who summered on Nantucket to bring The Figure Method™ to their seasonal home. Now, spearheaded by summer resident Christina Schwefel, Go Figure Barre Studios has launched a branch here on the island.
“Barre-based workouts are a hot, popular regime right now,” explains Schwefel, a bubbly brunette in yoga pants and tank top who doesn’t look like she’s had two kids in the past three years. “Here at Go Figure, we have a connection to classical ballet technique, and we blend together yoga, Pilates, and orthopedic exercises.” Schwefel continues, “The end product is long, lean muscles: a dancer’s body! This is accomplished through a lot of contraction and high repetition.” The Figure Method™ emphasizes core and back strength, which are some of the most important elements to a strong body overall. “It’s so healthy for all the joints in the back,” says Schwefel. “I have scoliosis. Before I started using The Figure Method™, my back was between 30 and 35 percent off from the center of my spine. I’m now only about 5% off, and I absolutely attribute that to The Figure Method™.”
Still, the hour-long class is no walk in the moors. Not long after the initial warm-up exercises, sweat is dripping from the face of every student, making it hard to believe that there’s not a single cardio machine in the room. “It’s quite challenging,” admits Schwefel. “However, it can be modified for individuals, and we know how to queue people into what’s going to work best for them.” During class, Schwefel bounces around the room, consistently doling out personalized attention and ensuring that each student is exercising proper form. “Beautiful!” she calls out when she sees something she likes. “You look great!” Schwefel encourages each participant to go at her own pace, and often offers options when a certain activity might be too difficult for beginners or those who need to take it a bit easier than others. Nonetheless, everyone is motivated to reach their personal potential, and Schwefel reminds her students of the prize several times throughout the hour: “This stretch, this is where we’re getting that lean dancer’s body.” During the abdominal workout, Schwefel says, “After I had a baby, my stomach muscles were very weak. This exercise is what built them back up again.”
Between one and four Figure Method™ classes are offered each day at Go Figure Nantucket, scheduled at a variety of times to accommodate most any agenda. “You’d be blown away by the age range you see in these classes,” says Schwefel. “We get 18-year-olds and 80-year-olds. It encompasses generations; lots of moms and daughters come in to class together.” Men are welcome to attend the class, too, though evidently only a few do. “The socially acceptable physique for a man is, of course, not the same as it is for a woman, but this class can do wonders for guys, too. Men who do ballet have amazing bodies!” Schwefel exclaims, waving a hand through the air.
“A ballet school is housed here, too,” says Schwefel, brimming with excitement as she refers to the newly minted Nantucket School of Ballet. In staying true to its dance roots, the studio enables youngsters ages three and older to receive regular ballet instruction of the highest quality. American Ballet Theatre® (ABT) certified teacher Richard Schafer uses ABT’s National Training Curriculum, an eight-level program that brings age-appropriate training to each group. Nantucket School of Ballet also offers weekly beginner ballet classes for adults. “My long-term vision,” discloses Schwefel, “is to host master level ballet workshops and weekend events here.” Her eyes scan the thousand-square-foot mirrored room and she smiles to herself. “I’d like to see this become a 10 or even a 12 month studio. I want this to be a space where families can come for programming.”
“It’s definitely high end, boutique fitness offering,” says Schwefel, adding, “But we’re not a big conglomerate where the end game is dollar signs. Every Figure Method™ instructor is trained one-on-one with the developer, [Sites]. People wonder why our classes are so expensive; it’s because a lot of care goes into the training of each instructor. And you get what you pay for.” The Figure Method™ is a brilliantly designed, fun way to get and stay fit at any stage of life. You can drop in for a single class at 12B Amelia Drive for $25. If you like it, you can purchase multiple-class package deals at a lower per-class rate. An additional discount is available to year-round Nantucket residents. To learn more about the studio, view the schedule, and to register for classes at Facebook.com/GoFigureNantucket.