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Inside a cult workout incubator that’s allowing fitness stars to shine


Los Angeles' Booty Works is grooming the next generation of killer classes and star instructors.

booty-works-laWhile swanky gyms and big boutique brands command a lot of the fitness buzz, your next favorite fitness class might be (not-so-quietly) percolating in a petite Los Angeles atelier.

Booty Works, which opened its doors in Studio City at the beginning of November, is a new sweaty incubator for innovative indie workouts and their rising star instructors—those that are on the verge of blowing up, but don’t yet have a studio to call their own. Think: mashup of fitness styles.

The boutique concept belongs to founder Danielle Harris, a fitness class fiend (who was doing Tae Bo with Billy Blanks back when he taught it at a tiny studio in the Valley) and who shied away from mega-gyms.

Harris asked herself, How could she capture “the vibe of ClassPass—which has sparked this feeling of, ‘Oh, I can have it all!’—in one venue, “like how Crunch gym used to be back in the ‘90s, when they had the newest, hippest programming,” she says.

Her solution: round up all of her favorite free agent teachers in Los Angeles and give them a home base to grow.

Booty Works current lineup includes a mix of well-established fitness fusion classes with cult followings but minimal studio presence (think Pound or Piloxing) and new workouts with serious promise—like Shay Kostabi’s killer ReXist 360 resistance band HIIT class, or Sydney Benner’s Flight, featuring a signature blend of cardio dance, yoga, flashing lights, and EDM tunes.

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“All of my teachers are hand-picked, 10-star, top-of-the-line, grade-A instructors offering what, essentially, feels like a private lesson,” says Harris, who strategically chose a small space and decorated it in elevated dive bar style (think neon lights and exposed brick) to create a sense of warmth and community.

It’s a different experience not just for boutique fitness lovers, but instructors too, who are seriously affected by the cost of real estate. “There’s no place for them to [develop a new workout] unless they rent space on the off hours at a dance studio, create the buzz within their own social media, and probably make no money,” Harris says. “My goal is to grow the teachers and their classes as brands, and the teachers are really inspired by the level of support—I encourage them to create their own programs here.”

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The emerging “workout collective” idea has promise, and there are signs that fitness-goers like to mix and match their workouts. (New York City’s The Movement, which offers a mashup of founder-driven classes in a boutique setting, for example.) Harris already thinking of opening more locations around LA and is continuing to scout out new instructors to add to her growing fitness family. Watch this space, indeed. —Erin Magner

This isn’t the only new spot that’s making us sweat with excitement: Here are four LA barre studios you probably haven’t visited yet (but should).

Booty Works, 12307 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA, 91604, 818-390-1595, bootyworksfit.com

(Photo: Booty Works)

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