Drawing upon her own diverse experience in the disciplines she teaches, Holly Corey launched the eponymous Holly Corey, a children’s gymnastics, yoga and ballet studio — plus a clothing boutique, called Live Holly Corey — in the Bridge Road Shops in Charleston earlier this summer.
Corey’s curricula includes “Mommy/Daddy & Me” classes designed to increase motor development while strengthening the parent/child bond, along with gymnastics and ballet barre classes which incorporate a gymnastics obstacle course and creative choreography.
The new studio, atop the Eggplant and Geranium shops, offers a variety of fitness classes for youngsters ages 18 months to 8 years old. She also leads a Live Fit class for adults that centers on gymnastics conditioning, rebound jumping, sculpt mat work and lengthening.
A former competitive gymnast and dancer with certifications in ballet, barre, yoga and Pilates, Corey teaches all of the classes. She is a USA Gymnastics-certified instructor with a focus in recreational and preschool theory, a Balanced Body Comprehensive-certified Pilates instructor, a Yoga Alliance-registered yoga teacher and a Safe Sport recognized instructor.
“Our classes are designed for children who want to learn, laugh and experience new things,” Corey said. “We’re proud to offer an energetic and safe atmosphere for children to develop strength, flexibility, coordination, concentration and problem-solving skills that will encourage a lifetime of physical fitness.”
“All of the classes are very small. We have about four to six students in each class. That makes us a little bit different from the other studios,” she said. “We definitely want to progress them on to being stronger, having better flexibility and having more confidence.”
Located at 1009 Bridge Road, Holly Corey features fitness equipment scaled down to size to accommodate and train diminutive gymnasts, yogis and dancers. Along with the equipment used for the four Olympic gymnastics events (vault, bars, balance beam and spring floor), the studio has a ballet barre, rings and a ceiling rope to facilitate development, progression and skills.
The studio also features the onsite activewear boutique, offering fitness apparel and accessories for children and adults. The selection includes retail clothing items and accessories for dance, gymnastics, yoga and Pilates, designed and created by Corey. She started the activewear line three years ago, and, until the arrival of the Bridge Road location, her attire has been available only online, at select gyms across the region and through wholesalers. The apparel and accessories are available to purchase on Saturdays or while classes take place throughout the week.
A Nitro High School alumna who began studying gymnastics at age 2 and a competitive gymnast until age 14, Corey graduated from West Virginia University with degrees in fashion design and merchandising. She worked in the fashion industry in New York and Pittsburgh before returning to the Kanawha Valley three years ago.
“I started sewing at the age of 10 and made my first quilt,” Corey said. “I decided I wanted to make that my career.”
Back in Charleston, she started her company by making clothes and collecting feedback on them from members of her aunt’s gym.
“After about a year of testing them and selling them exclusively at her gym,” she said, “I decided to open up the online store.
“In the past year, I’ve really started teaching a lot of yoga and Pilates classes myself and decided it was the right time to open up my own ‘Mommy & Me’ gymnastics gym.”
Addie Forbes, 8, of Charleston, endorsed the yoga classes after only one week of sessions, attending with her friends, Andy and Lila. “It’s really fun here,” the Holz Elementary School student said. “I love coming here. I’ve done gymnastics before, but I’ve never done yoga before. I love doing yoga. Someone in my family teaches yoga, and it’s really fun to do yoga with her.”
In her first class, Addie said, she learned a forward roll, something she couldn’t do before.
Addie also extols the gymnastics she has tried at the second-floor studio, having dropped out of a local gym/club last year since she wasn’t having much fun there.
“I get to do a lot of things here,” she said. “The gymnastics is probably my favorite part. I got to jump on the trampoline today.”
“This is wonderful that she can come here and learn more about movement and physical fitness, and whatever she decides to do in the future, I think it’s a good foundation for her,” said Lesli Forbes, Addie’s mother. “Gymnastics and yoga aren’t just good for her now, but also if she decides to play soccer, baseball or anything else in the future.”
As she transitions from e-commerce to a tangible business site, Corey said, “I always wanted to create a shop that allowed people to come in and experience things. You’re not just going to stay at home and shop online. You’re going to come in and feel a certain way and just feel happy and excited for your workouts.
“I let the e-commerce site be successful and, that way, fund an actual, physical location. Having a brick-and-mortar [store] at this time can be risky, but I think people are really interested in being able to experience the clothes and see them in person and also get a sense of the person who made the clothes,” she said. “They like coming into the space and knowing the clothes were made here on site by me. If they need an alteration or anything changed, then I’m happy to do so. And the classes make you realize what you can do in those clothes.”
More information about Holly Corey and Live Holly Corey, including the class schedules and fees and the apparel line, can be found at hollycorey.com. You can also follow the studio’s social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.