4 January 2017 at 5.07pm | 19 Comments
Combining core strength with seemingly effortless grace, a ballet performance is the ultimate workout for a dancer. But for us mere mortals for whom even the words 'ultimate workout' prompt a rapid retreat back under the bed covers, finding a place to start can seem an insurmountable challenge.
So, whether you're part of the 'New year, new you' brigade, or simply want to try something new for 2017, here are few of our favourite ballet fitness videos to get you started:
For warming up the mind and body: Sweaty Betty
Anyone hoping to exercise should ensure they are well warmed up before launching into a full routine. Luckily this 'Sweaty Betty Ballet Bootcamp' has not one, but two warm ups: firstly, a pre-warm up demonstration of the ballet positions to help lapsed (or newcomer) ballerinas get back on their feet, and secondly, a gentle warm up to get the heart racing before the full cardio workout. A word of warning, however – if you're hoping to exercise to the delicate strains of Tchaikovsky, you might be in for a shock.
For covering all the bases: New York City Ballet
This film, starring Sarah-Jessica Parker may have originally been filmed more than 15 years ago, but its extensive programme of exercises passes the test of time. Over the course of an hour, dancers from New York City Ballet demonstrate warm ups and stretches, before progressing to floor barre work. 'If you love ballet (even just watching it), you'll enjoy this workout', the description proclaims; a warning to ballet fans that it's certainly easy to spend long periods of time admiring the dancers' poise rather than exercising for yourself.
For those who need a refresher course: Lazy Dancer Tips
Quick demonstrations before each exercise, and multiple camera angles to help dancers understand the shapes their bodies should be making, make this a good springboard for those who know the basics but want to improve. The video also features helpful links to the music being used in each exercise.
For those in the know: The Royal Ballet's daily class
To celebrate World Ballet Day 2016, we released a video featuring Class Teacher and Ballet Rehabilitation Specialist Brian Maloney and Soloists James Hay and Meaghan Grace Hinkis to help those watching at home learn the steps ahead of our live ballet class. All of the five steps shown are part of The Royal Ballet's morning ballet class, which takes place each day for our dancers (and is itself available to watch in full via YouTube).
For a powerful arm workout: Ballet Beautiful
While the jury's out over how many of our audience members are hankering for 'Strong & Sexy Swan Arms', this video, title aside, is surprisingly effective. Created by dancer-turned-celebrity trainer, Mary Helen Bowers, the 15 minute workout is enough to leave your arms aching and give you a newfound respect for the graceful swans you see on stage.