Distrikt Movement creates community

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If you live on the North Shore and have any interest in fitness, it’s likely you’ve heard of the new kid on the block, Distrikt Movement.

The studio, owned by established movement instructors and community leaders Alex Mazerolle and Jian Pablico, opened its doors the second week of January, bringing the ‘hood a new space to explore.

I first heard of Distrikt Movement through social media, and being an avid yogi and North Van lifer, I was immediately intrigued. I wondered, how would this one be different? In a city full of fitness centres and yoga studios, it was hard to imagine a newcomer offering up something truly original. Nonetheless, I decided to explore Distrikt Movement with an open mind and high hopes.

Before I even set foot in the studio, I was impressed by the variety of classes offered (yoga, dance, martial arts) and their refreshingly creative names (Core Mechanic, Ugly Sweaters). I chose a class entitled crush/hush for my first Distrikt adventure as it provided an appealing combination of fast-paced conditioning and plyometrics followed by a relaxing bout of yoga.

Since then I have taken a barre class, which combines pilates with ballet exercises — no experience necessary — as well as a classic vinyasa yoga class. Each of these selections offered an invigorating, unique workout led by energetic and knowledgeable instructors.

Chatting with Mazerolle about the studio, I learned that she and Pablico had first crossed paths through their collaborative work on various youth programs.

Both had founded successful youth initiatives (Girlvana and VARS/TY) independently, and soon realized a mutual vision of creating a fun and inclusive community hub that would provide a space for youth movement programs. From these beginnings Distrikt Movement was born: a multidisciplinary studio that welcomes all ages and abilities under one roof.

“[It’s] a fitness studio with heart. A place where you’re welcomed as you are and supported.”

Cassandra Van Dyck, SFU alumna

Community, creativity, and collaboration are the key values  at the heart of Distrikt Movement. Mazerolle discussed the importance of supporting local businesses and how this has shaped some of the studio’s offerings, including their partnership with Culver City Salads, a food truck that provides healthful lunches outside Distrikt every Friday.

Moving forward, Mazerolle and Pablico intend to build upon the foundation they have created by providing new leadership opportunities for youth and becoming more involved in the community.

When asked what it was like to start this business, Mazerolle confessed that it has been a tremendous amount of work. She recalled the long hours, learning curves, and continuous onslaught of obstacles that her and Pablico faced, both pre-and post-opening.

Yet even while discussing these challenges she conveyed a genuine sense of warmth and affection for all things Distrikt. In terms of advice for other young entrepreneurs Mazerolle remarked, without hesitation, “Just go for it.”

This week I asked other North Shore SFU students what their impressions of Distrikt Movement have been. One student described the space as having an unintimidating, relaxed atmosphere, while another characterized it as fun, friendly, and welcoming.

SFU alumna Cassandra Van Dyck said of Distrikt, “[It’s] a fitness studio with heart. A place where you’re welcomed as you are and supported. [ . . . ] You feel like you’re part of a community of people who care about being healthy, having fun, and feeling good about who you are.”

Distrikt Movement is not just a studio where people come to exercise; it is a community that offers a healthy dose of camaraderie — a space that strips away some of the seriousness of life in an honest and accessible way. To quote Mazerolle, when it comes down to it, it’s all about “people sweating and moving together.”

Distrikt Movement is located at 105-197 Forester Street in North Vancouver.
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