SO Resi Canning Town

How The Body People brings fitness to Eastwick And Sweetwater

Muti-purpose venue near Stratford and Hackney Wick is Chloe Redmond’s first movement studio

Chloe Redmond, entrepreneur and owner of The Body People – a young woman with long dreadlocks in a black top in front of a green, gold, black and white geometric wax print fabric
Chloe Redmond, entrepreneur and owner of The Body People

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“The Body People is my baby,” said Chloe Redmond.

“She’s my first experience of owning a studio – a place where I could bring all forms of movement together, fitness, aerial disciplines and dance.

“But I also wanted it to be a space where you can mix and blend – focus on spoken word, photography exhibitions or rehearsals, for example – a place that would be multi-faceted.”

And The Body People in East Wick And Sweetwater – a residential development on the western edge of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – is just that. 

Pale green silks hang neatly braided from the ceiling, squares of wax print fabric in green, gold, white and black hide exercise bikes from view and golden poles run floor-to-ceiling in readiness for forthcoming acrobatics.

Everywhere there’s wood, splashes of colour and foliage.

For studio owner Chloe, it’s a dream made real – the culmination of 14 years working as a dance and fitness instructor in and around her native Walthamstow.

Chloe Redmond, wearing a khaki tracksuit with a crop top raises her hands in a fitness studio while participants practise Pilates movements on the mat
Chloe teaching Pilates at her studio in east London

starting to move

“I’ve always moved,” she said.

“I’m dyslexic and have certain processing disorders that meant I was classed as a dumb person at school. But I was strong and fast.

“I was really fortunate to be supported by my parents and to be able to do everything from gymnastics to athletics and dance.

“I graduated as a filmmaker, but I decided teaching people dance and fitness was what made me feel alive – it took me to another level.

“When I came back from university, I thought I ought to do some dance classes.

“When I couldn’t afford my gym membership any more – they said that they’d heard I taught and that, if I were to teach classes, I’d get access for free.

“So I retrained. I just love seeing people’s eyes come alive when they feel good and experience that confidence.

“Also, you get applause at the end – you don’t get that in every job.”

A woman tries out aerial silks at The Body People. She is wearing a purple top and grasping two lengths of green silk suspended from the roof
The Body People offers a wide range of classes including aerial silks

finding a spot for The Body People

“When you’re just a teacher on your own, running around to other gyms, you’re limited in what you can do,” said Chloe. 

“That’s why I started looking for a space.

“I knew I wanted somewhere I could pull communities together, somewhere I could put my unique black woman’s touch on – a place I could make beautiful the way I wanted it. 

“But I struggled to find somewhere – I had so many offers rejected in Walthamstow.

“Then this place came up and it made sense, being in the middle of Stratford and Hackney Wick.

“You’ve got the old and the new here, which is important to me – those born to the sound of Bow Bells and people who have moved out of the City.

“It’s really nice to be a part of creating this new community. 

“We’ve had a lovely reaction from the local residents who live above and around us.”

A woman practices pole dancing on a brass pole hanging upside down with her hear loose
Pole dancing is available at the Eastwick And Sweetwater venue near Stratford

interior vibes at Eastwick And Sweetwater

Since opening the doors in November, Chloe has unquestionably put her stamp on the place, creating a backdrop packed with personality.

“It’s important to me that people come in and see a well-seasoned place – we have hot sauce in the fridge,” she said.

“I didn’t want it to be bland, sterile or stagnant because that has been my experience in some places.

“It was a concrete shell, and I wanted to keep something of that in the studio.

“But It was also important to me to get my Africa-print fabric from a Nigerian woman in Liverpool Street and to include items such as masks and fans that have been in my family from Ghana or Kenya for years.

“My background is also English and Irish and I wanted a place where people could walk in and feel a black woman’s touch.

“That’s in the textures of the plants and the things I’ve put in here.

“We’ve got boxes and baskets for people’s belongings while they train instead of lockers, to create a woody, earthy feel. 

“Then there are bolsters for Yoga made by my mum, Jo Redmond.

“One thing I do know is that when other black women come here there is this connection – a moment of things looking familiar to them.” 

A group of people participate in a spin class on exercise bikes at The Body People
The class timetable also includes spin sessions for cardiovascular fitness

building The Body People timetable

At the core of The Body People’s offering is its class timetable, with a wide range of sessions on offer.

“You can be up on the ceiling, down on the floor, on a bike, working out on a mat or moving to music,” said Chloe. 

“What you want to do depends on their interests and background.

“Some people may come in and say they’re bored with the gym – that they want something exciting and different and want to do it with a group of people led by an instructor.

“For them, we might recommend the more exotic classes like aerial silks or pole dancing. 

“Then there are people who are pregnant or who have just had a baby and want pre or postnatal classes, which we also offer.

“Some people have become die-hards and this studio is now their second home.

“Others just fancy a nice mixture of things like a step class, which is much more dance-like than it was back in the day – a lot less robotic.

“We also offer dancehall and commercial dance for those who want that variety.

“When designing the timetable, I wanted a full spectrum, imagining someone who would be able to come to a class every day and do something different.”

A group of people participate in a step fitness class wearing workout gear and trainers
Step classes are on offer at the venue

living the dream in east London

“I am a very sensitive and emotional person and I feel it’s important to champion more women who are business owners and in touch with a full range of emotions,” said Chloe.

“I’ve had moments where I’ve been in tears – happy and sad – times feeling really chuffed with myself or frustrated with the little things.

vBut I have to keep going – life isn’t perfect.

“There have been some really lovely moments where I’m teaching a Pilates class and thinking that, 14 years ago I started this kind of movement, knew I wanted my own place and now I’m in it and it’s beautiful and lovely.

“For the most part it’s a really happy experience.

“Every morning I walk in and say hello to my baby – the studio – and she speaks back to me when the music plays.

“Everyone who comes in feels they have come into a tranquil space – it just feels safe and inclusive.

“While I don’t have a favourite class – that would change daily – I have had some very special moments teaching Pilates when it’s felt like things have come full circle.

“I remember feeling nervous and anxious in the earliest days of teaching Pilates at my mum’s health practice in Walthamstow, but also that I loved it – supporting others.

“I knew then that I wanted my own place, not just for Pilates, but for dance and fitness too. 

“I’d always kept my eye out for spots which were coming up, and teaching here – 14 years later – means I’m getting my dream.

“Now I just want to keep doing what I’m doing.”

An image of The Body People studio which has a brown wooden floor and concrete walls with silks hanging from the ceiling and foliage down the walls
The Body People is a multi-purpose studio space between Stratford and Hackney Wick

need to know – The Body People

The Body People is located in Copper Street at East Wick And Sweetwater and operates a varied timetable over seven days.

Standard single session prices start at £13.

Memberships start at £146 per month, with full gold membership covering all classes in both E20 and Walthamstow is £162 per month.

Find out more about the studio here

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
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