As a kid, my mother, like most mom’s to girls, signed me up for dance classes. I couldn’t have been more than 4. I can see the video playing in my mind; a dozen 4 year old girls attempting to tap and ron de jon in unison but failing miserably.
Even at the tender age of 4, I took dance seriously. I wanted so badly to be professional dancer. And I kept up with dancing till about 13 or 14. I lost interest in favor of writing, brooding and rebelling against just about everything. But even in my later years (ahem) I still truly love Ballet. It’s my first love. There is something about a ballet barre and ballet shoes that get me all in a tizzy inside.
For me a part of beauty is taking care of yourself and I’ve been an avid fan of working out and exercise for as long as I can remember. I have a love/hate relationship with Jillian Michaels. I have Insanity (which is appropriately titled). I adore my treadmill. But I haven’t been getting the body I want from those workouts. I bulk easy, especially on my lower half. And I have a torn meniscus making those kinds of workouts really hard and painful to perform. I started to think about the kind of body I wanted to sculpt. And my favorite time in my life was when I was hardcore into Ballet. My muscles were strong, long and lean. There was length to my body even though I’m only 5’6″ (ish). My stomach was flat, my butt was round, compact but still small. The dancer’s body I had was truly my favorite period for me.
So recently I found many of my dance-centric workouts and re-discovered my NYC Ballet and Tracy Anderson workouts. There are two DVDs in the NYC Ballet series and I love both. The second is more on your feet than the first but there’s value to having both. I also rediscovered my Tracy Anderson workouts and I really love those as well. Tracy takes many of her philosophies from dance and ballet and the workouts she has show that. I like the dance cardio routine a lot but I suck at it right now. I will keep trying and keep doing it… but it’s very fast paced. Her Mat workout is an amazing full body routine that will sculpt you like crazy and my personal favorite ab workout is her Post Pregnancy DVD. It’s really an amazing ab work out and you’ll be in a bit of pain the morning after.
But I was also looking for something new. I didn’t see Black Swan. I actually had no interest. It looked weird and I’m sure it was good but as much as I love ballet, I’m more of a Center Stage fan.
So when I was looking in Amazon for a new workout to do, I came across Mary Helen Bower’s Ballet Beautiful DVDs and book and bought both. While I never saw Black Swan, I did admire Natalie Portman’s transformation for the movie and Mary Helen was responsible for that. HELLO.
I got the DVD and was surprised to see that 90% of it is on the floor. I thought I’d never get a good workout. Holy hell was I wrong. It’s a tough go particularly the bridge series. I pretty much die until that series is over. The ab routine is also pretty killer. I can barely do it all the way through. I love that Mary Helen works the smaller muscles like inner thighs (and you will FEEL your muscles there working quite heavily) to really focus on elongating your legs instead of working larger, bulkier muscles like the quads and hamstrings.
It’s about an hour long but she does have a “Blasts” DVD that has 15 minute workouts for various parts of the body. You can learn more about Mary Helen here and you can purchase her DVD’s for about $15 each here.