Have you ever been to a workout ballet class?

Here in Philadelphia (and in lots of other cities), there are a variety of ballet workout classes, from Pure Barre classes, to classes mixing ballet and pilates to Ballet Xtreme (the class that’s offered at Philadelphia Dance Fitness, where I have a membership). Lately, it seems ballet is becoming a way to become fit through both ballet classes as well as ballet workout classes (especially the Ballet Beautiful series).

While I wasn’t the biggest fan of Ballet Xtreme (rapid ballet movements and jumps done to hip hop and pop music), it was definitely a workout. But when I find I really need to work on perfecting my technique, the class focuses on doing rapid movements, focusing more on the movement and not technique. I definitely want to try it out in the near future (once I spend a while working on technique–which I am in 3 to 4 classes a week) and after I work on strengthening my ankles (all the jumping in the Xtreme class just killed them–so I ended up skipping most of them).

I do, however, want to try out a Pure Barre workout (because they focus on barre work and are supposed to be gentle on your joints, as they contain no jumping), but at $23 a class, I can’t really afford them right now on my current schedule. So, I plan on just doing more workouts from my Ballet Beautiful book (I’ve only done one so far–woops) and attending ballet as usual.

Have you ever tried out a ballet workout  class? Would you recommend them for beginners?

Ballerina Profiles: David Wilson of Dave Tries Ballet

Check out our awesome interview with David Wilson of Dave Tries Ballet. He started ballet at the age of 23, and now takes classes in the UK and performs in a couple of repertoire groups.

Adult Ballerina Project: When did you start doing ballet as an adult?

David Wilson: I started ballet two years ago, when I was 23.

ABP: Did you ever take lessons as a kid?

DW: Nope, I had never really done any kind of dancing before I started ballet classes.

ABP: Why did you decide to take ballet as an adult?

DW: I’m still not entirely sure! I was studying for a Masters in the States (in mathematics, so nothing arts-related) and had completed a triathlon for charity. I decided I wanted to do something completely out of my comfort zone and for some reason ballet popped into my head. At that point I had only seen one ballet in my life (an ex-girlfriend had taken me to see Swan Lake during my Undergrad degree).

ABP: Where do you take classes?

DW: When I was living in the States I took class at the Princeton Ballet School and in New York (mainly at the Joffrey Ballet School). Now I’m back in the UK (living in Bath) I take classes all over the place, including with a couple of repertoire groups I’m performing with.

ABP: What is your favorite part about ballet?

DW: It’s the absolute freedom you feel when everything ‘clicks’. As cliched as it sounds, it feels like you’re flying! It might not even be a big jump or multiple pirouette, sometimes even a simple balance can feel beautiful.

ABP: What is your least favorite part?

DW: I honestly can’t think of a single thing I dislike about ballet, except perhaps that I didn’t start when I was 3 years old!

ABP: What motivates you to keep dancing?

DW: Ballet doesn’t come naturally to me. In fact, before I started I would have certainly described myself as having two left feet. But it is amazing to be able to see my own progress and I guess my motivation is to see how far I can go. Since coming back to the UK I’ve joined a couple of adult repertoire groups and a Russian Youth Ballet Company which has allowed me to perform. The rush you get whilst performing I certainly something that keeps me hooked!

ABP: Do you take any other dance classes?

DW: Not at the moment. I’ve taken a couple of contemporary, jazz and theatre jazz classes in New York and London but I personally like the structure of a ballet class. Knowing that you’ll start with barre (including plies, tendus etc) is reassuring, especially in a class you’ve never taken before. That being said, I really would like to try tap – bring out my inner Fred Astaire!

ABP: What are your hobbies outside of ballet?

DW: Before I started ballet I had rowed and cycled for my University and completed a triathlon. Although these have taken a backburner since starting ballet I still enjoy subbing in to the occasional rowing outing and cross-train with running, cycling and, especially, swimming. However, I’m currently doing up to 12 hours of ballet a week to there isn’t much spare time (at least, not if I want to get my PhD!)

ABP: What advice would you like to give to those who want to start ballet or have just started?

DW: Don’t let yourself be your own worst enemy. Just throw yourself into it. As an adult it can be really easy to get really nervous or self-conscious in class. Try to ignore that feeling! You’ll soon realise that no-one is watching (except perhaps the teacher, which is a good thing!). Don’t worry if you make a mistake or fall over either; I have a teacher who was a Principal in the Royal Ballet and after falling square on my backside during a pirouette exercise she simply said: “Good. That means you committed to it.” So I guess falling over can sometimes be a good thing!

ABP: Anything else you’d like to add?


DW: I guess just to say that if you’re a guy don’t be intimidated! You’ll probably find yourself heavily outnumbered in a class, but teachers are usually aware of this (and you sometimes get extra attention which is nice!).

Want to read more? Check out last week’s profile on Legal Ballerina.


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