Ballet-inspired fitness classes tap the inner ballerina

Mon Apr 7, 2014 5:24am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ballet-inspired group fitness classes have leapt beyond the traditional wall-mounted barre to include tools like bungee cords and swishy balls for a full-body workout, according to fitness experts.

The classes, often paired with Pilates, aim to channel the inner ballerina, even in non-dancers.

BungeeBallet, created by former New York City Ballet dancer Rachel Piskin, is a group class at ChaiseFitness studio in New York City that puts a fitness spin on ballet moves.

Instead of the traditional ballet barre, the 45-minute class relies on an overhead bungee system that Piskin said sculpts the arms and challenges the core of her mostly female clientele.

"By holding on to the bungees, you can hold second position or first position," she said. "Coming from my background, it was important for me to really stay true to traditional ballet moves."

In both of these basic positions of ballet, the feet are aligned heel to heel, touching in first position, then spaced approximately 12 inches apart in second.

Piskin said the class sculpts the upper body, challenges the core, and works the upper thighs. A series of bungee-assisted petit allegros, or small ballet jumps, keeps the heart rate up.

"The class moves fluidly between one exercise and another and the bungees assist you to jump higher," she said.   Continued...