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Ballet Talk for Dancers

NYCB Workout


Mulberry

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Hi,

 

I've just come back from my first Zumba class (latin-dancing inspired fitness, for anyone who has not heard of it). I've decided to start in a bid to get 'match-fit' for ballet classes again. I'm also doing kettle bell training at home (exercises with weights). I have an old NYCB Workout DVD that I've had for years and I'm just wondering whether there's any point in doing it. Does anyone have any views on whether it's good?

 

I know that many of you will be thinking that the best way to get fit for ballet is to take ballet class. I do know that! But, there are several reasons why it's not right at the moment so I'll have to content myself by getting ready for the big day.

 

Maybe you have other ideas as to what type of exercise would be good?

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NYCB Workout is becoming a classic! And deservedly so, as it is a good ballet-based exercise. It's best used in parallel with its accompanying book. Pilates is always another useful form of cross-training.

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I love that workout, and it's what led me to try ballet classes.

 

One thing I would say (the book perhaps covers this) is that it doesn't always provide enough information for complete beginners. I stared at my feet and sickled relentlessly throughout - which my poor teacher then had to correct when I went to classes :wink: Also, 'copy the dancers' is not always the best instruction when the dancers on screen have perfect turnout. I only twigged what I was doing wrong after online research told me I was 'planting' my turnout - planting my feet in 180 degree turnout and then letting my knees and hips try to cope with it.

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For about half a year, I did the video alongside some ballet classes (only a couple of classes a week) and it worked very well for me. The NYC Ballet Workout adds some things that you won't get in a ballet class, like some specific core training activities. I'd say go for it. :-)

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I own the book, but have never seen the video, so there may be things in the video that were not covered in the book. Personally I think the workout is a nice little “semi-exercise” program for those taking ballet classes and wanting to do something a little more “fitnessy” to compliment classes or to do when there are no classes. But as a true fitness program I think it is vastly lacking. There is essentially no cardiovascular work or muscular endurance work for the big muscles. The torso work does use many Pilates exercises, and a few (way too few) decent stretches. The ballet center exercise (really really basic ballet exercises) are a total waste from strictly a fitness perspective. The floor barre is ok, but really basic. Worst, however, is the poor description of how to put all of these exercises together in a way that truly does affect fitness.

 

Having said all of that, I do use some of the exercises in that book in my own fitness program. My fitness program includes Pilates exercises, floor barre, yoga, weights, medicine ball, rope jumping and petit allegro, and weird exercises I pick up from fitness blogs and magazines. I do 100s of different exercises at different times and always try to include something that addresses the components of fitness—i.e., cardio, muscle endurance, power, flexibility, agility, and balance. The only other principles I use is to go from exercise to exercise without rest (use stretches as rest) and to constantly change the exercises (muscle confusion).

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I've found Pilates to be really helpful. I took it when I broke my foot and couldn't do any weight-bearing exercise for five months. I think it helped ease me back into ballet and the core strength was an added bonus. If you can find a Pilates class that also uses a lot of props (fitness b a l l s, Bosu, weighted b a l l s, fitness circle etc) that is even better. I'm taking two Stott Pilates classes a week and they are awesome. Each class is different. Today we used the weighted b a l l s a lot but then also used the foam roller later for some exercises and for loosening the muscles. A lot of the exercises in class are things that my physical therapist has given me to work on at home to help with alignment issues in ballet and running.

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Thank you, All!

 

I'm glad that there is support for the workout, as I used to enjoy it. I do agree with the comments that it's not good for cardiovascular work. That's the bit that I'm most sorely in need of at the moment, which is why I'm doing Zumba too. I'm going to include this workout in my programme, though, as I like the idea of toning the muscles in a way that they will lengthen rather than bulk up. Also, I'll feel a little closer to ballet!

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I found the video much more comprehensive than the book. It's good if you have had some ballet training, at least (the video, I mean). The book, to me, was incomplete.

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