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Life and Work with Amy O’Connell and Sarah Brittenham

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy O’Connell and Sarah Brittenham.

Amy and Sarah, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Our journey with Barre Forte started in 2016 when we opened our first studio in LoHi.

Sarah and I met in an usual way. In 2011, I was running the Leadville Trail 100 – a 100-mile trail race where you can use pacers beginning at mile 50. One of my pacers had to drop-out at the last minute, and Sarah stepped in for her. When I arrived at mile 50 on race day, Sarah was there waiting and the rest is history. Sarah introduced me to barre several years ago. I had been experiencing some running injuries and she swore it would help me become injury-free. After one class I was hooked, and I have since included barre as my favorite – and most effective – cross-training and body toning workout.

Sarah and I were both unhappy with our jobs. One day, on a long run together, we decided the people in Downtown Denver needed a barre studio and we needed to be the people who brought it to them. We opened Barre Forte LoHi in the summer of 2016 and had always planned to open a second studio. We considered a variety of other locations, but in the end, we knew that Wash Park was the perfect fit for Barre Forte. This studio just opened in May 2019!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We think every small business has its fair share of rocky roads! While ours has been fairly smooth, the struggles we have faced were really the result of things we could never have predicted – but these have also been important learning experiences for us. All of the challenges have given us the opportunity to pivot and move with the market. Our advice for other women who are just getting started? Don’t be afraid to pivot. Don’t be afraid to change your original plan or vision if it means greater success. These don’t have to be big changes – but little changes that could make all the difference. Keep your eyes open wide and be open to new ideas!

Please tell us about Barre Forte LoHi and Barre Forte Wash Park.
Barre Forte workouts are hard – and we like them that way. We follow the foundational principles of barre by isolating, overloading, and stretching each muscle group one by one, resulting in long and lean muscle tone. Not only will barre transform your body, but this low impact workout is also a popular cross-training option for athletes looking for ways to prevent injury and improve performance. We constantly change things up in our classes, so you will never perform the same workout twice. Our studios are warm and welcoming. Each is a place where you will find a supportive, inclusive and inspiring community. Whether it’s your first class or your 100th, at Barre Forte, you are loved like family.

What advice would you give to someone at the start of her career?
Since we started our careers, a lot has changed. We live in a culture of instant gratification, where people expect everything they want – NOW. From our experience, you have to be willing to work hard and possibly spend a few years doing a job you don’t love, in order to get to the job you DO love. The years we spent working in jobs that weren’t our passion or dream jobs were some of the most important learning experiences of our lives and we would not be where we are today if it wasn’t for those experiences. So, our advice? Put your head down, do the work, and look at every day as a step towards something you love.


  • Try Us for $10!
  • New Client Special: One Month Unlimited for $100

Contact Info:

  • Address: LOHI:
    1553 Platte St
    Denver, CO 80202WASH PARK:
    300 S. Logan St
    Denver, CO 80209
  • Website:
  • Email: OR
  • Instagram: @barrefortelohi OR @barrefortewashpark
  • Facebook: @barrefortelohi OR @barrefortewashpark

Image Credit:
Jenn Hernandez Photography

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