If you're a ballet enthusiast, you're likely familiar with Mary Helen Bowers, creator of the acclaimed workout program, Ballet Beautiful, and trainer to Natalie Portman on the set of Black Swan. As a professionally trained ballet dancer, Bowers possesses tremendous grace and abundant expertise in her field. Both her workouts and social media accounts aim to inspire a lifestyle of dance for individuals from all walks of life -- even pregnancy!
Like Bowers, we can make the art of dance a part of our everyday lives by incorporating simple steps into our daily routines. For a beginning student, it's best to keep those steps simple until your body builds stamina and flexibility, and to accomplish this, there is no better place to start than at the barre. As you're probably already aware, the barre offers a focal point -- a balance center-- that corrects issues with form and presentation at the get-go. With your balance in-check, it's easier to concentrate on the actual steps instead of shuffling feet and straining just to "find your center!" Below are the three best exercises for an uncomplicated, but remarkably thorough, workout that you can take anywhere:
Plié: We used this term frequently, but the plié is so crucial for beginning dancers to master since you can easily engage hips, legs, buttocks, and abs so effectively.
Tendu: A tendu builds strength and balance while offering an incredibly dynamic workout for the lower calves and hips.
Passé: This is yet another fantastic workout for the entire leg as well as the stomach muscles. The passe could be compared to the famous "tree pose" of yoga classes in terms of its structure and form.
Best of all, you can perform these basic moves virtually anywhere, as ballet is truly an art form that can easily assimilate into any schedule. We recommend beginning your exercises at the barre in the morning so that you can carefully watch your form and challenge yourself to explore your maximum muscle potential. Then, throughout the day, incorporate those moves when appropriate. A phone conversation is a prime spot for a little "tendu-ing!"
Ballet is such a valuable tool for creating a sleek, toned, and graceful physique, so start thinking in terms of form. Use that barre, take the principles of posture and balance, and literally allow the power of dance to follow you outside your studio or gym.
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