What: fast paced one-hour workouts using a barre and strengthening ballet moves like plié, tendu and relevé.
Who: masochists. Gazelle-like dancer types. Ridiculously fit and perky instructors. Normal people who learn and execute choreography much, much faster than me.
When & Where: everywhere, and all the time. Seriously, these places seem to be popping up all over the place. In Southern California, there are already 12 locations, and they have plans to expand further. And their schedules are pretty comprehensive – you can probably find a class any time that works for you.
Why: intensity and results. I’ve gone three times, now, and it’s consistently been a vigorous workout and I’ve been at least a little sore about 24 hours later. And I have a friend who’s been doing it for a few months and it really helped her break through a weight loss plateau (and her ass and waist now look phenomenal).
The verdict? If you like ballet and you’re up for a challenge, give it a try! The first class I took was a beginner level, and I felt like it was difficult but I stumbled my way through it. About eight months later, I took an advanced class (not because I thought I was all that and a bag of Pop Chips, but because friends were going and that was what fit best with our schedules) and it killed me. I was bright red and dripping sweat, I felt like I did maybe half the work (most of it wrong), and I could see the pity in the instructor’s face when she came by my spot repeatedly to help me make adjustments. Most recently, I did the advanced class a week later – still red and sweaty, probably did three quarters of the work (some of it wrong, but a lot of it right…ish), and was largely ignored by the same instructor, so what I was doing must have been at least passable.
If you try it, be gentle with yourself.
Realize that all your perfect classmates probably started out not knowing what they were doing, or being able to keep up, either. When a move does finally click, or you get to a point where you’ve built enough strength to do something well, or you see some changes in your physique, you’ll feel awesome.