Aerial fitness studio opens in New Milford

Photo of Sandra Diamond Fox

NEW MILFORD — Viewing an aerial class at J. Rouge Fitness Arts and Wellness, which just opened at 103 Danbury Road, may bring back childhood memories of a trip to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus.

“In the circus, when you see the loose fabrics and people who twist themselves into shapes with silks — we offer that,” said New Milford resident Jennifer Ramey, who owns the 2,000-square-foot studio.

In a 50-minute class, “you are suspended from these apparatuses. You can invert, which means you’re going upside down,” Ramey said.

J. Rouge offers classes for adults and children from 10 to 17. Aside from four different kinds of aerial fitness classes that incorporate silks, hammocks and hoops, the studio also offers dance body, flexibility and deep stretching classes, and a floor class called Rouge Fit.

In Rouge Fit, “in every single song, you are focused on a muscle group,” Ramey said. Using small weights, students hold their arms in the air and choreography the weights to the song “to make it more fun,” she added.

Ramey, 38, who has a 14-year-old daughter, is certified in group fitness with the Athletics and Fitness Association of America.

Aside from owning J. Rouge, Ramey works as an office manager at Hantsch Electric Inc. in New Milford.

Ramey, who has a master’s degree in physical education, said she has always been a gym member. She discovered aerial fitness a few years ago when seeking a change in routine.

“I have been working out my whole life,” she said. “I started getting bored and I wanted to spice things up.”

She found out about aerial classes and researched where they’re offered, and took one — and never looked back.

“The second that I got on the hoop, when I heard the girls clapping and saying ‘you can do it,’ and felt their encouragement, I got the bug,” she said. “I was absolutely hooked.”

When a previous aerial arts studio she was a member of closed, she decided to start her own.

Aerial fitness

Ramey said aerial fitness is “an art form.”

“You’re basically a ballerina up in the air,” she said. “While hanging from a cloth, students put themselves inside a metal hoop and do these beautiful combinations and routines of shapes and splits and really create this beautiful physical art piece.”

Aerial classes are for all ability levels, and especially focus on the beginner. Students will be able to do many of the aerial moves in their very first class, Ramey said.

While some students may feel overwhelmed at first, confidence grows with time, Ramey said.

“Almost everyone has been timid in their first class, which is normal, but we have intro classes which are catered to people who have zero experience,” Ramey said. “We do not invert right away; we want to help the members build up their strength and confidence so it becomes a lifestyle fitness regime and not just a one time experience.”

Students begin with baby steps,” she added.

“We have floor exercise classes and aerial conditioning that will help people on their journey,” she said.

Aerial classes require the full use of the shoulders, arms and hips. She added most people can notice a difference in their fitness level from the classes within three months.

To get to the next level in aerial fitness, there’s no formal test; rather, it’s under the discretion of the instructor.

“Consistent practice, patience, perseverance and believing in yourself is all it takes to ‘hang’ with us!” Ramey said.

Both group and individual classes are offered.

J. Rouge is having a grand opening Nov. 6 at 1 p.m. For more information, visit jrouge.com or J. Rouge Fitness on Facebook, or call 475-454-2139.

sfox@milfordmirror.com