Adams Village studio brings unique fitness blend to neighborhood

Whether you're into yoga, trendy kettlebell or Zumba classes, facials, Reiki, or chatting about books, Transformations Movement Company on Gallivan Boulevard aims to provide something different to the Dorchester community.

Transformations was born out of an idea to bring fitness classes to the Adams Village area. Owner Kathleen Aicardi, personal trainer and author of Revere Beach Diet said the need for something other than a traditional gym motivated her to open the studio in June 2007.

"I realized there's really nothing around here for people for classes... no place for people to go for yoga, Pilates.. dance type or aerobic type classes," she said. "There was really nothing in this community."

Eight months later, Aicardi, 52, and business as well as life partner, Marty Lydon, 58, say they average between six and 15 people per class, many from the neighborhood.

"A lot of them tell me they can walk here so it is very, very much a community," Aicardi said, adding that there are also some that come for evening classes for a break between work and the commute home.

This Saturday, five women attended a yoga class taught by Gina Wahlberg, 38, of Dorchester. Wahlberg said people come to her class to feel better. She added that even though everyone's main reason may differ, they are all "looking for stress relief and relaxation."

Carol Robinson, 61, takes yoga three times a week and attends Power Play Boot Camp on Tuesdays and Thursdays, at six in the morning. "It's been a positive experience for me," Robinson said as she was getting her things together after class.

"It's nice because it's small and you get to know people," she said, adding that, "the price is right."

Ann Sullivan, 51, wrote via email that, "after a stressful day at the office and a migraine headache, I can't wait to attend one of Kathleen's many destressing and calming yoga classes." She described it as a place where one feels comfortable and where the instructors are knowledgeable.

Diane Baird, 44, a personal trainer from Adams Village, comes twice a week for yoga and kettlebells, a traditionally Russian form of exercise that uses a weight with a handle to combine core and strength training with a cardio workout.

At her regular Tuesday kettlebells class, Baird, whose daughter also attends hip-hop classes in the kid's program, describes Kettlebells as "a great workout," calling it "fun" and "different."

Chris Loomis, 43, comes on Tuesday mornings for kettlebells and teaches a yoga class there during the week. A Milton resident, Loomis started kettlebells because of a "hip injury that's healed a lot."

"After 2 or 3 sessions" she said, the changes were dramatic.

Zumba, which student-turned-instructor Jackie Becker, 25, described as a "dance fitness class that incorporates Latin and international dance styles," is also gaining popularity among the members.

"You will sweat your butt off," Becker said, adding that Transformations was the first studio in Dorchester to offer this kind of program.

Transformations is home to the Skincare Studio, where customers can get a wax or a facial.

In another room people meet with a Pilates trainer, or have a session of Reiki, a Japanese method of relieving stress and illness.

There are also programs for children and teens, ranging from self-defense to yoga. Aicardi said one challenge is getting children from ages 12 to 15 to join. "We're trying to find a way to get more of the teens in, in here."

Other classes Transformations offers are Power Play Boot Camp, Cardio Hip hop and Abs, and Kickboxing, which all meet for about an hour. Additional programs include various workshops like Nutrition, Financial Health, and Goal Setting, and a weekly book club that will start this Saturday.

"How many studios have book clubs?" Lydon said. "You're covering, you know, the physical aspects, your covering the spiritual aspects, and your also covering all the mind-chatter aspects."

Aicardi wants all of the what Transformations offers to appeal to "average people," she said, who previously "haven't had the opportunity to take a lot of these classes."

"It's kind of a no-frills place. You don't have to be in the right gear… you can come as you are." Aicardi said.

Although most of the members are women, men and women from ages seven to 70 have taken classes at the studio, according to Aicardi.

The drop-in atmosphere allows members to take a wide variety of classes to mix it up, she said.

Classes are $15 each to drop-in, with 12-class passes and unlimited class membership available. There are additional costs for private lessons, workshops, and appointments at the Skin Care Studio, depending on the service.