Introducing…the new way to do ballet
Does the word ‘ballet’ bring back childhood memories of gruelling exams, strict teachers and pink overload? It’s time to give it another try for 2016.
Vicki Anstey, founder of Barreworks, explains how Barreworks Ballet WorkOut class can help you rediscover your inner ballerina while cultivating leaner limbs, better posture and increased muscle definition.
We spoke to Vicki to find out everything you need to know to get started.
Who would the Ballet WorkOut class most appeal to?
Our Ballet WorkOut classes are attended by women of all fitness levels, shapes and ages, we keep class sizes small so that corrections and modifications can be offered at close-hand. The class can be enjoyed by all, whether you sported a tutu as a child or you have never danced before.
How similar is this workout to ballet classes you would have as a child?
Firstly, there are no stern ballet mistresses! Our instructors are classically trained and have experience from Royal Ballet School and English National Ballet, but there is a strong sense of fun and encouragement and a nurturing approach to our teaching! We do keep to a fairly traditional structure, with a moving warm-up, stretching, barre work (pliés, tendus, ronds-de-jambes amongst other technique-based static exercises, all designed to warm the body up, in preparation for movement). We also perform core-activation work on the floor, a floor-barre section and some movement combinations, simple balances, jumps, even pirouettes!
How does it differ to barre, which combines ballet training and athletic conditioning?
Our Ballet WorkOut is a little more dynamic than barre, focusing on technique, luxurious stretching and some cardio-vascular movement. In each class we bring to life each stage of dancer’s training, from basic barre work to strength training and physiotherapy. The music, exercises and movements enhance grace and posture, promote exceptional muscle conditioning and definition, flexibility and balance. While our barre workout pulses to a background of upbeat, modern music, the Ballet WorkOut is held to a soothing soundtrack of some of the most loved ballet scores in the world.
What do you wear for classes?
For first-timers, everyday workout gear is perfect, with bare feet or socks – we believe that a ballet workout should be accessible to anyone, without the need to buy specific kit. But once you inevitably converted to a superfan, it certainly helps to have a pair of soft-soled ballet shoes, to protect your feet and help with floor work. You may even be tempted to invest in some super-soft leggings, leg warmers, cross-over cardigans and a back-enhancing leotard to show off the results of your hard work!
What effect does the classical music have on the exercise?
Classical music truly enhances the immersive feeling you get, adopting the grace and posture of a ballet dancer during class. We defy anyone NOT to discover their inner ballerina. But sometimes we also use Latin American music, or pop tracks to surprise clients and show that Ballet is a highly versatile method of exercise and so much fun to try.
What are the fitness benefits of ballet compared to other dance classes?
You’ll combine elements of ballet training and athletic conditioning, from basic barre work to strength training and physiotherapy. The music, exercises and movements have all been designed to enhance grace and posture, promote exceptional muscle conditioning and increase definition, flexibility and balance.
What do first-timers tend not to expect about this class?
Most people think that you have to have prior experience to participate. We can take a first-time client through the absolute basics and have them perform a pirouette by the end of the class. You will surprise yourself by what you achieve – and be reassured that no-one is watching you, or laughing at you…we are all too busy concentrating on our own movements!
How often should you do it to get results?
We suggest 2-3 classes per week for continuity and the best results. In just 4-6 weeks, you will see visible physical improvements, but even after just ONE class, you will see your posture change. You can instantly add inches from your waist to your height, just by adopting correct posture. Once you have got to grips with some of the terminology (positions and movements) you’ll be able to start putting movement combinations together quite quickly – think you can’t pirouette? Think again, we break these wonderful movements down to make them achievable by anyone. As your technique at the barre improves, your co-ordination and movement patterns also improve. But there’s always something new to learn, or a different piece of music to ‘perform’ to.
To hear more about the Barreworks, go to barreworks.co.uk
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