A lifelong Ridgefield resident brought her passion for fitness and dance together in a new, fun-focused studio that offers a unique suite of courses designed to help clients feel their best while they work up a sweat.
On May 3, 32-year-old Samantha Canale opened the Affinity Studio on Roberts Lane after deciding to step out of her former fitness bubble. With more than 15 years of dance training, she designed a room in which athletes could explore other fitness options.
“We’re not reinventing the (fitness) wheel, but I think there are more fun ways to do it,” she said. “I got into … Zumba because you blink and an hour goes by, and that’s really important to some people.”
Canale leads a group of instructors trained in various areas of fitness and dance, covering a wide range of skills. In addition to Zumba, customers can sign up for Intro to Adult Dance, Killer Weights, Ballet Bootcamp, Step It Up, and Intro to Pole.
And while some people have negative connotations to pole dancing, Canale explained how it can be therapeutic and liberating as a workout, allowing participants to gain confidence in themselves and their bodies.
“It’s definitely empowering,” she added. “It enables you to express something that you are unlikely to achieve” in a standard fitness class.
In “Intro to Adult Dance”, the styles alternate weekly so that customers can learn a variety of basics. Ballet Bootcamp is run by a professional ballerina and from July instructor Caitlin Elby will be teaching fitness classes where she teaches and the participants wear heels. The regular schedule is complemented by special evenings of black light Zumba, 305 fitness and Broadway classes, among others.
“We’re trying to bring some partying to Ridgefield,” Canale said.
Katie Kozlowski, a long-time Canale customer, took a number of courses at Affinity during the opening week. She described the owner’s concept as “brilliant” and her passion as “contagious”.
“One night I was yelled at by a bootcamp teacher and the next night I turn around a pole and hear Beyoncé,” she said. “I think we sometimes forget that exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be fun to keep your mind distracted, and dancing feels just like that. “
Affinity teacher Naomi Collinge-Riek teaches step classes on Mondays and Zumba classes on Tuesdays. She said that since some of the studio’s classes aren’t available anywhere else, “people will come from out of town to take the classes and then use other businesses in Ridgefield while they’re here.”
As Affinity invites more people to the party, Canale hopes the residents will embrace the new business and help build a community around it.
“Yes, health is important, but I really think the relationships you have with people are what it’s about,” she said, “and that’s why I love doing what I do.”
The Affinity Studio is located at 10 Roberts Lane, Suite 5, in Ridgefield. For more information or to sign up for a class, call (203) 594-6701 or visit www.affinitystudioct.com.