From coast-to-coast, here are two studios to brush up on your technique.
When I was younger, my mother encouraged me to take ballet classes. As a pre-teen I took it for a year before quitting.
At the time I felt I was too old. What was I thinking?
The long, lean bodies of ballerinas are enviable. I have since taken various barre classes. Assessing it as an adult interpretation of ballet. Actual lessons never crossed my mind. Did they even exist? Yes!
And, you don’t have to be a professional dancer or in grade school to take them.
In California, there’s Ballet Bodies
(It’s opportunely located near one of my favorite vegan restaurants Real Food Daily).
Ballet Bodies is an intimate space drenched with natural light.
Founded by former New York City Ballet dancer, Andie Hecker, the studio offers a range of classes. From Pilates to private sessions, the exercises have one thing in common: maintaining a dancer’s form. Group classes include Ballet Basic, an hour of fundamental ballet combinations performed at the barre. Imagine plies, relevés and elevés.
“At class number three, one will suddenly realize, ‘hey, I’m doing ballet!’”
More advanced students can opt for Ballet Barre and Center. This class is 30-minutes longer and involves more intricate dancing. What kind of physical changes can you expect? Toned legs and bum!
According to Hecker these areas are the quickest to respond to a ballet regimen.
“But just look at a dancer’s body and you will see flat abs and chiseled lean arms as well.
For a non-dancer, clear results can appear in a mere three to five classes.”
she says. Sign us up!
On the opposite coast there’s Ballet Beautiful. Victoria’s Secret Angels including Miranda Kerr and Erin Heatherton, as well as, celebs to the likes of Jamie King and Liv Tyler credit their bodies to the workout.
The method is created by Mary Helen Bowers, also a former dancer with the New York City Ballet.
Bowers is additionally a celebrity trainer (including Natalie Portman for her role in Black Swan). Professionally trained ballerinas lead all of the classes.
Inspired by classical ballet, the method is a series of mat and standing exercises. The barre used as a tool to help with balance just like you would in a ballet class.
The workout is designed to target the inner thigh, back of the legs, the butt, arms and upper body. Think leg pulses, butt lifts, and crunches. A stretch follows each set of exercises to facilitate muscle recovery.
The sessions are also live-streamed where only the instructor is recorded.
These classes are interactive, i.e. the instructor can correct the form of those tuning in.
There are also permanent online classes led by Bowers that can be accessed any time. Private training both virtually and at the flagship Soho location is also an option.
A new mother, Bowers, also offers Ballet Baby, a program of pre-, and post-natal workouts.
It’s no wonder there is such a strong A-List following. The classes are extraordinary. They offer a sort of Parisian effortlessness. But don’t be fooled by its simplicity.
To borrow from Zooey Deschanel, the workout kicks your behind, in the loveliest most graceful way possible.
Ballerina, Mary Helen Bowers courtesy of Ballet Beautiful.