There’s a new place in Barrie where you can get in shape, feel empowered and hone your inner sass.
Army of Sass Barrie is open and is an 18-plus heels, dance and performance training group that works to empower women by building confidence, gain physical strength and teaching them dance moves that will lead to a performance at the end of each session.
Army of Sass has about 30 locations across North America and Wendy Graham licensed the Barrie program out of her Safe Haven Studios at 250 Innisfil St., in Barrie.
Graham said that while the classes are 18-plus, it's about building confidence and nothing else.
“It’s unfortunate, but we do get people who think we’re strippers and we have to correct them and assure them there is no taking our clothes off,” she said. “We focus a lot on empowerment and being comfortable in your own skin. We hear so many stories and see so many posts of the girls saying how powerful Army of Sass has been for them and how it has changed their lives.
"The confidence they learn in the class they end up taking everywhere with them.”
Army of Sass Barrie classes are split up into three seasons -- spring, fall and winter -- with the winter classes starting Jan. 6 and running until March 23.
Each session sees the students choreograph a dance routine and then perform it as a show at the end of the season. This past fall’s session had the class present Nightmare, which was based on the classic Nightmare Before Christmas.
Graham, who has over 10 years of teaching experience and is well trained in jazz, tap, ballet and other styles of dance, told BarrieToday that she loves to see all the hard work from her students pay off when the show goes right.
“The class get to participate in 10 to 12 weeks of classes and rehearsals and they get to perform what they learned at the end,” she said. “We just had our show Nightmare this past Saturday at the Red Barn Events Centre and brought in our stage, curtains and dolled it up. All the family and friends got to enjoy watching what the students had learned and it was very successful.
"The next show is called Sideshow and is our own little take on showman style, so it’s kind of like a creepy circus," Graham added.
While Army of Sass is what Graham loves to promote and expand on, she is very passionate about her Safe Haven Studios and what she wants it to represent which is not just dancing.
“I want this to be a dance and wellness studio and we will be offering yoga, pilates, a workout class called Sass and Sweat as well as some female and woman empowerment seminars and body confidence stuff,” said Graham. “We want anyone, that includes men, to be able to walk in and feel like they’re in a safe place and can be whoever they want to be.”
You can sign up now for the next session, but will have to be quick as the winter program has 52 students signed up and can fit 70.
The classes and programs are for anyone whether you have had years of dance experience or no dance background at all.