Ballet offers a different alternative to boring repetitive and uninspiring gym sessions. Often ballet moves and techniques are combined with Pilates to tone and use different muscle groups with smaller movements and more repetitions rather than explosive moves that you would experience in a body pump class. The benefits of ballet or a ballet based exercise class are increased strength, balance using your core stomach muscles which tone your abs, posture as well as a firmer, more toned physique. It encourages flexibility, most ballet dancers can easily do the splits.
Already a big hit with Victoria’s Secret models such as Miranda Kerr and other angels such as Doutzen Kroes, Lily Aldridge, Erin Heatherton and Lindsay Ellingson, who all use ballet based workouts before their catwalk shows to tone and keep in shape.
Zooey Deschanel is also said to be fan as well as Madonna, following the works of American based Barre3, which features Pilates and yoga with ballet in an hour long workout which can also be bought online to do at home. Natalie Portman trained daily before the filming of ballet inspired film Black Swan resulting in a firmer and more defined physique. TOWIE star Lucy Mecklenburgh has also tweeted that she is a fan of the ballet workout.
While Ballet may not give you the same high fat burning cardio workout as running or other exercises you still burn calories and build muscle, which in turn burns more calories. These workouts may look gentle but after 20 reps of lunges whilst on tiptoes you definitely feel the burn and use smaller muscle groups that you wouldn’t usually use.
Xtend Barre is a popular ballet based workout in the UK that has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health and the Daily Mail online. It features ballet moves such as being on tiptoes or plié lunges with many repetitions focusing on the legs and bum.
Ballet based exercise classes can have a higher price than regular exercise groups as often most instructors are former ballet dancers.
Many workout videos are easily found online and ballet fusion websites as well as Youtube tutorials for the workouts and also actual ballet techniques.
It is not just ballet-based classes that are gaining popularity, there have never been more beginner ballet classes offered for adults who stopped at a young age and have now returned to it.
Exercise outfitters Sweaty Betty have a yearly campaign called ‘Get Fit For Free’ where they offer free exercise classes in their boutiques across the UK and USA. This year they offered a ballet boot camp, with the videos available online for anyone who couldn’t get to the boutiques. They have repeated the ballet theme for two years ago.
Ballet is not just confined to studios and gyms though. Ballet and fashion often combine with designers using it as their inspiration for future collections to be future on the runway such as Chanel and Alexander McQueen, as well as the trend of tight ballerina buns and tulle ballerina inspired skirts. Nail polish collections have also been created by OPI based on the New York City Ballet.
Recently Sex & The City star Sarah Jessica Parker who is a New York City Ballet board member created an AOL reality series on the New York City Ballet called ‘city.ballet.’. She attended the School of American Ballet when she was younger.
The stereotype of stick thin fragile ballet dancers is increasingly being replaced with fit, strong and importantly healthy dancers such as Sara Mearns, who is a principal dancer for NYC ballet.
While taking up adult ballet is unlikely to result in becoming a prima ballerina it is an elegant and fulfilling way of getting fit that takes you out of the gym and into the world of dance.