Our Instructors

Maria McKendry, Physical Therapist, Certified Barre Instructor, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer, Sports Nutrition Specialist is buffaloBARRE®’s founder and owner. She graduated from Daemen College in 1996 with a B.S. in Physical Therapy. A physical therapist for 20 years, Maria worked specializing in outpatient orthopedics, home care and sub-acute rehabilitation throughout Buffalo, NY. She studied Barre Fitness and received her Barre Certification and training in Los Angeles, California in 2012. She is trained in Pilates through APPI. Maria was the pioneer of Barre Fitness in Buffalo when she started teaching it in 2012. She then developed the buffaloBARRE® technique based on her own experiences as a physical therapist, athlete and knowledge of which exercises are most effective and safe. In August 2013, buffaloBARRE®, Inc. was created and she opened her own studio in East Amherst, NY. Six months later, Buffalo Spree Magazine awarded buffaloBARRE® Best Fitness Classes in WNY for 2014. In 2017 , McKendry developed an online streaming workout subscription and the Buffalo Barre Instructor Training Program.

Maria loves to work with people of all ages. Her expertise in physical therapy and years of experience with human movement and anatomy ensure that your workout will be as safe as it is effective. Maria’s education and experience afford the client professional, individualized attention with emphasis on proper form and technique. McKendry uses her Physical Therapy background to offer modifications to her clients based on past injuries or current limitations. Verbal cueing, tactile cueing and modifications based on the client’s abilities make the classes appropriate for clients of all fitness levels.

Maria takes pride in the fact that women of all ages and fitness levels can come to buffaloBARRE® and receive a safe yet effective workout. She created an environment that is comfortable, empowering and fun. Maria is involved in her community. She hosts monthly “buffaloBARRE® Gives Back” events at the studio. As part of a partnership formed with the University at Buffalo School of Theatre and Dance, she accepts a student intern per semester and teaches a Friday Forum class to the Dance Majors at UB.

Maria is a fitness enthusiast and an accomplished athlete. She was a competitive swimmer for most of her childhood and she enjoys running. Maria’s running accomplishments include qualifying for and running in the 2013 Boston Marathon.

Maria believes that fitness and nutrition go hand in hand in order to create healthy living.  To assist clients to reach a health or fitness goal, no matter how small or large, Maria knows that both of the associated exercise and nutritional components must be addressed.  Unique to buffaloBARRE® are challenge programs developed by McKendry. The challenges are offered to clients several times per year as a way to encourage everyday healthy living. Maria’s knowledge, contagious energy, enthusiasm and encouragement will inspire you!



Renee Ikefugi – Instructor


Renee is like many of us with a lifelong passion for being active and healthy.  Power Yoga has helped her achieve a well balanced life through its physical challenges and spiritual teachings. Renee was fortunate in being able to study under Baron Baptiste completing Level I Teacher Training.  His enthusiasm and dedication was so powerful that it transformed Renee’s life; she has since become stronger, more supple in body, calmer, more relaxed, more energetic, and filled with a feeling of great personal growth.  She is eager to share all of this with her students.Renee also completed the Art of Assisting Baptiste Power Institute program.  This furthered her relationships with fellow practitioners as well as her personal commitment to Power Yoga.  Renee’s sincere desire is to communicate her passion to her students and to encourage them to discover Power Yoga, with its gifts of inner strength, physical health, and spiritual growth.Renee comes to us with an education and career in the health profession.  This background provides additional benefits to her students.

“Yoga is philosophy in motion there is no quick fix, no short cut to physical health and fitness, just a process, and in yoga the goal is the process,”  Baron Baptiste


Danielle Neglia – Instructor

Danielle grew up in Lockport, New York, where she began dancing at a young age. She developed an early enthusiasm for movement, technique and precision which is what led her to try classes at buffaloBARRE® and eventually become a buffaloBARRE® Certified Instructor. She is currently in school at Niagara Falls Culinary Institute for Winery Operations and works at her family-owned winery! After more than 5 years teaching part time at a local dance studio and coaching youth cheerleading for the City of Lockport, she learned energy is truly contagious! Danielle feels there’s nothing more exciting than sharing something you’re passionate about. Danielle believes it doesn’t take a ballerina to succeed at Buffalo Barre. She’s excited to help everyone who comes to class walk out feeling empowered, a little taller and with a little more grace.  She looks forward to continuing her own fitness journey while being part of the buffaloBARRE® team. She’s ready to help others develop that same excitement and desire to return class after class!


Lisa McCarthy – Instructor

Dance has always been an important part of Lisa’s life. She earned a BA in Dance at the University of Buffalo where she was a member of the Zodiaque Dance Company. She is currently a jazz instructor at Lancaster Dance Center. She is a buffaloBARRE® Certified Instructor. As a busy Mom of three, Lisa enjoys volunteering with the school PTO and in the community as a member of the Junior League of Buffalo. She is excited to combine her enthusiasm for dance with barre fitness!


Al Festaiuti

Al Festaiuti – Instructor

Al comes to us with a lifetime of experience in athletics, fitness and teaching. He holds numerous certifications! He is an International Sport Sciences Association Certified Fitness Trainer, Self-Defense Certified Instructor, Holistic Fitness Instructor, International Kickboxing Institute Kickboxing Fitness Trainer, Martial Arts Instructor, Certified Black Belt Instructor. He is a member of WAKO, USA Kickboxing, USA Muay Thai Association, Sport Karate International, Professional Karate Commission, National Black Belt League. He enjoys traveling to warmer climates, giving back to his community, horticulture and spending time with family and friends. He’s excited to share his knowledge and motivate you to take your fitness to the next level!








Jillian Weber – Instructor

Jillian teaches Zumba and is an active member of the WNY fitness community. She is also a mother of twins, kindergarten teacher, kids’ yoga instructor and avid skier. You can say that she is dancing through life which is one of her biggest passions. Jillian was a dancer growing up and reconnected with her love of moving to music when she walked into her first Zumba class nearly ten years ago. She became a certified Zumba instructor in 2012 and has never looked back. She believes that everyone is a dancer at heart and that music moves your soul. Come and join her for a Zumba class and get ready to move, smile, and sweat… No dance experience needed.






Kaitlyn Arnold – Instructor

Kaitlyn is a student at the University at Buffalo. She is a senior working towards her Bachelors in the Fine Arts focusing on Dance. Kaitlyn is very interested in health and wellness which led her towards her  buffaloBARRE® certification. Kaitlyn has trained in all styles of dance including ballet, jazz, modern, tap, and hip-hop. She is an experienced group fitness instructor too! Kaitlyn believes that maintaining a healthy lifestyle should be an enjoyable experience. She will bring a fun and positive outlook to your workout sessions!






Sandy Bloom – Instructor

Sandy is a certified Hatha-Vinyasa Yoga Instructor (200 hour training) who specializes in Sacred Geometry Vinyasa. Sandy is fun, precise and determined to share her love for yoga with everyone!


*All of our instructors are CPR/AED certified.

The buffaloBARRE® Technique is nationally recognized and approved by the American Council on Exercise.