StudioRepublik is one of those spaces that’s easy to fall in love with and hard to leave. Sprawling across 6,000 square meters, this brand new structure off Sheikh Zayed Road offers rooms for everything from drama to music to pilates to HIIT – and does it all seamlessly.
“It’s not just a gym,” said Adriana de Caires, head of arena at StudioRepublik. “It’s a hub centered on community building, where people feel welcome to hone disciplines such as music, drama, yoga, aerial, etc, all while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”
In other words, StudioRepublik was designed as a one-stop-shop. Walking into the new building feels a bit like stepping into a nightclub. There are black walls, neon lighting and a ground-floor elevator whisk guests up to reception (first floor) or various gym rooms (second). A massive glossy hallway leads to the main entrance.
The place has a hotel-like feel with staff behind glossy counters ready to hand out your machine-activated wristband (you’ll need this to enter or exit any of StudioRepublik’s many, many rooms, as well as the lockers). There are touch-activated wall displays for booking into more than 90 daily classes. Overall, the vibe is pretty darn cool.
The classes aren’t too shabby either. They include Jumpin,’ a fabulous high-cardio jump fit class led by a spirited Brazilian; Body Pump; TRX Fusion; Step; reformer Pilates (in a specially designed room with exposed white-brick walls and wood flooring); aerial (with classes from beginners to specialist skills levels); cycling and yoga. The sheer range of options available when it comes to workouts is amazing. With many of these happening in smaller, themed rooms, StudioRepublik manages to feel both huge yet intimate.
“All our classes provide something unique,” added Caires. “We’ve combined music, lighting and visuals to give an immersive experience and stimulate all the senses –definitely a must-try!”
It’s not uncommon to see live DJs spinning out tunes in StudioRepublik’s dimly-lit bootcamp classes, while guests sprint on curved treadmills.
Music also plays a role in StudioRepublik’s other focus: the arts. In the stylish central cafe, a whole range of instruments sit on the stage, ready for a live band to perform while guests drink protein smoothies and snack on turmeric energy balls. The space invites you to linger, with tables, booths and chairs nestled under exposed bulbs with fast wifi and plenty of outlets. There’s a recording studio and classes in everything from world percussion to contemporary jazz to intro to music technology.
Drama and theater likewise expand into a range of classes. Adults can book into beginners tap or belly dancing, take classes in Shakespearian acting or edgy improv or sign up for self-improvement sessions such as “confidence and clarity.”
All the dance happens across 250 square meters dedicated dance space, with floor-to-ceiling mirrors and sprung wood flooring. For drama, there’s a 50-seater black-box theater, backstage control room, a green screen for filming and pretty much all the other trappings a would-be performer could want.
Kids have plenty of options too. The wide range of dance classes includes contemporary ballet, afro-fusion, hip hop, jazz, ballroom and more. With drama, children can shuffle between film and monologue and audition classes. When it comes to music, there is instruction available in everything from production and singing to performing and composition.
StudioRepublik has plenty of different membership options: you can choose from one to three to all of the disciplines and sign up for a month, three months or a year. Prices start from around Dh375. There are also voucher packages that let people access certain classes on a pay-as-you-go system.
There’s plenty of basic gym space too on the top floor, again behind a wristband-activated gate. The equipment is varied, with an entire row dedicated to working glutes, another for arms and lots of shiny toys for folks who like a bit of constant change with their weights.
This area isn’t as large as some other open gym floors – like Warehouse Al Quoz or Train SF, for example – meaning if you’re after classic weight lifting, StudioRepublik might not be for you.
There’s more on the way too, including an integrated wellness platform offering additional services to be called The Lab.
“This is just the start for us,” said Caires.
Danae Mercer is a freelance health and travel journalist. In addition to working as editor-in-chief of Women's Health Middle East and Men's Health Middle East, Danae has written for The Sunday Times, CNN Travel, Dubai Tourism, The Guardian, Afar, Bloomberg and many more. She's based in Dubai and is a trainer at Crank. instagram.com/danaemercer