Q+A: Ashley Barenz & Desira Barnes, Cinch

In April 2017, Ashley Barenz and Desira Barnes combined their 18 years of experience in Pilates and personal training to bring Cinch to DUMBO. Working both at Gleason’s Gym and The Gelsey Kirkland Dance Academy, Cinch prides themselves on having campuses in DUMBO, instead of just an address. We sat down with Ashley and Desira to learn more about Cinch, and what goes into all that sweating, stretching, and muscle toning.

How did Cinch start?

We used to work in a Pilates studio in DUMBO and our studio closed. So, we started Cinch. We have been working together and been good friends for a long time. Our teaching styles are very similar as well. So, it was always an idea that we had to work together. Cinch started April of this year, so we are still brand new.

What format do your classes take? What teaching styles do you follow at Cinch?

We offer a variety of classes, so it all depends on the class. We mix it up so every class is a little different, but the feeling and level of intensity is always relatively the same. Cinch is a cardio class with a basis in Pilates. No matter what class, our clients are going to have Pilates 101. Everybody needs to know how to use those muscles, so we teach very similarly— going from warm up, to footwork, through power abs and leg-work. That’s stage one.

In Cinch, we also do a mix plyometrics, jumping, and free weights— just to get the heart rate up. The idea of the class is to go up and down— to move your body through every range of motion. You’re jumping, you’re in plank, you’re on your back, you’re moving. So, the whole time you are using your Pilates muscles and toning your body, which in turn will burn calories and fat.

How did the partnerships with Gleason's and Gelsey Kirkland form?

We were deciding on a place to kick off this business and keep all our clients. We knew Bruce from Gleason’s because he used to own the gym across from our old studio. We came to Gleason’s and proposed that we teach Pilates here. Bruce was all about it and welcomed us with open arms. We are very happy and lucky to be here. It is very different to what we are used to but we are a Pilates studio in a boxing gym now. It’s great!

With Gelsey Kirkland, we also just went there and pitched them. They so kindly gave us the opportunity to teach our reformer classes and Cinch to all their ballet students. We have a great relationship with the academy students at GKA. There is a such a strong family community in both places, we are so lucky.

We have both been teaching in this neighborhood for almost ten years... Dumbo has supported us in a way that I never would’ve imagined.

Desira Barnes, Co-Founder of Cinch

Why did you choose to stay in DUMBO?

Cinch is definitely DUMBO. We have both been teaching in this neighborhood for almost ten years. It’s been a long time and we love it here. Dumbo has supported us in a way that I never would’ve imagined. The people really do love not only us, but what we have to offer and what Pilates stands for. No matter what, Cinch is staying in DUMBO for sure. We are not going anywhere!

What is your favorite place in DUMBO?

Desira: Brooklyn Bridge Park because I’ve had so many moments there. From lows to way highs. It is always the place I go.

Ashley: The waterfront. The views are incredible. I’m from Utah originally, and I’ve been here for ten years, but I still get the excitement. It has all the qualities that people talk about: the cities, the bridges, the park. It’s a cliché, but it’s a cliché for a reason. It is beautiful.

Mentioned in this article

Gleason's Gym Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet Brooklyn Bridge Park - 99 Plymouth Street