New fitness studio aims to 'bring a party to Ridgefield'

A lifelong Ridgefield resident has combined her passions for fitness and dance into a new, fun-focused studio offering a unique array of classes that empower clients to feel their best while breaking a sweat.

On May 3, Samantha Canale, 32, opened Affinity Studio on Roberts Lane after deciding to branch out of her former fitness bubble. With more than 15 years of dance training under her belt, she conceptualized a space where gym goers could explore other avenues of fitness.

“(We’re) not reinventing the (fitness) wheel, but I think there (are) more fun ways to do it,” she said. “I got into … Zumba because you blink and an hour goes by, and that’s really important to some people.”

Canale leads a group of instructors who are trained in different areas of fitness and dance and cover a wide range of skill levels. In addition to Zumba, clients can sign up for “Intro to Adult Dance,” “Killer Weights,” “Ballet Bootcamp,” “Step It Up” and “Intro to Pole.”

And while some people may hold negative connotations towards pole dancing, Canale explained how as a workout it can be therapeutic, liberating and enable participants to gain confidence in themselves and their bodies.

“It’s definitely empowering,” she added. “It’s allowing you to express something that you probably don’t get to” in a more standard fitness class.

In “Intro to Adult Dance,” styles rotate on a weekly basis so clients can learn a variety of basics, “Ballet Bootcamp'' is led by a professional ballerina and, starting in July, instructor Caitlin Elby will teach fitness classes in which she and participants wear heels. The regular schedule will be supplemented with specialty nights featuring black light Zumba, 305 Fitness and Broadway-themed classes, among others.

“We’re trying to bring a little bit of a party to Ridgefield,” Canale said.

Katie Kozlowski, a longtime client of Canale’s, took a few classes at Affinity during opening week. She described the owner’s concept as “brilliant” and her passion as “contagious.”

“One night I’m being screamed at by a boot camp instructor and the next night I’m twirling around a pole listening to Beyoncé,” she said. “I think we sometimes forget that exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be fun if you distract your mind, and dancing feels like just that.”

Affinity instructor Naomi Collinge-Riek leads step classes on Mondays and Zumba classes on Tuesdays. She said that since several of the studio’s classes aren’t available anywhere else, “People will come from out of town to take the classes and then make use of other businesses available in Ridgefield while they’re here.”

As Affinity invites more people to the party, Canale said she hopes residents will embrace the new business and help build a community around it.

“Yes, health is important, but I really think the relationships that you make with people (is) what it’s about,” she said, “and that’s the reason I love doing what I do.”

Affinity Studio is at 10 Roberts Lane, Suite 5, in Ridgefield. For more information or to sign up for a class, call (203) 594-6701 or visit