Morning, friends.

Did any of you catch on when I announced my plan for last week’s workouts that Thursday night included a ballet class?

Bonus points for you if you did!

Ballet is normally not a part of my weekly routine, but the amazing Gina Fay (founder of DanceFIT Studio, co-founder of DanceFIT Babies, children’s ballet instructor, and fitness instructor)  invited me to attend a BalletFIT™ class at her dance and fitness studio in Brookline.

Gina & Me!

Ballet as exercise! Create the long lines of a dancer’s body in this intense one hour workout with hand weights. You will lift your seat, lengthen your thighs, and firm your abdominals in this fun, fast paced class. The class will improve flexibility, balance, and strength. The ballet barre becomes a great benefit to assure balance.

Considering I graduated college with a minor in dance, have 17 years of dance training under my belt, and have been teaching fitness classes for six years now, it’s obvious that I was super excited about this opportunity.  Take a class that combines two of my favorite things?  Sold!

I must admit, I was a bit nervous as I put on my leotard (yes I know I just wore it for Halloween, but to actually wear one for class again is different, okay?) and pulled my leg warmers out from the back of my drawer.  I don’t do ballet regularly anymore – I only take the occasional class here and there.  Of course I’ve taken Christina’s “Perfect Lines” at CBC which draws from a lot of ballet principles, but I knew that BalletFIT™ would have an actual full barre section of plies, tondues, degeges, etc.  I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to do it!  Or that the overachiever in me would feel depressed if I couldn’t get my battements as high as I used to!

However, my nerves quickly disappeared as I walked in the door.  Everyone was super friendly.  Even as I was waiting for the previous class to get out, the other girls waiting were all chatting.  I couldn’t help but smile as I overheard two of the girls talking about how hardcore class the week before had been.  As an instructor, I love hearing people talk about my classes that way, so I’m sure Gina feels the same and would love that too!  Anyways, the studio definitely had a community feel to it right from the get go, and I could immediately tell that a lot of the class members are regulars and commit to Gina’s awesome workouts week after week.

We started class at the barre, as expected, and went through several of the moves I mentioned above.  I was a little frustrated that I had to modify some of the workout for my shoulder injury, so I unfortunately did not get the full effect of the movement with light weights in tow.  I just did what I could.  Even though I was new and modifying, I didn’t feel self-conscious about it.  The atmosphere was still comfortable, and  each class member worked at a pace comfortable for their own individual fitness levels.  Honestly even  if you’ve NEVER taken a ballet class in your life, you would be able to take this class because Gina promotes an “It’s never too late” policy.  I think that is so fantastic.

After we finished up at the barre, we did a lot of cardio movement in the center of the room, this time holding 1 pound balls in our hands.  We did step touches, high knees, and a lot of moves that I typically do in my classes, but then Gina interspersed sautes, changements, and things like attitude hops in there as well.

Holy leg burn.  My legs were sore all weekend.  Love, love, love rediscovering muscles that I forgot I had.  Is that weird?

Class also included push ups, a 2 minute plank hold (AHEM to my class members – maybe we should try extending our plank hold time!?), and a killer ab section at the end that targeted both the rectus abdominis and the oblique muscles.  It was actually a really humbling experience because I pride myself on having a really strong core, and I was struggling big time to get through those last sets of ab twists.  We finished up with some yoga moves too – bridge/wheel, happy baby, inversions, etc.

The best way I think to describe BalletFIT™ is a combination of ballet, aerobics, muscle endurance, and yoga.  A little bit of everything rolled into one hour.  And trust me, it didn’t feel like one hour.  When Gina thanked us all for our hard work and said it was time to go, I was like “What?!”  The time flew by.

After class ended, some of the class members were kind enough to write down why they love BalletFIT™ so much to add some testimonials to this blog post.

“My favorite thing about BalletFIT is gaining better posture and also feeling my leg muscles burn the next day!”

“I love the fun go-getter attitude.  I work really hard and feel beautiful while doing it.  Gina is a great instructor – very attentive and motivating!”

“I love feeling a full body workout and exercising the muscles I don’t use in other types of classes.”

“BalletFIT is my favorite class because it combines two things I love – ballet and fitness!  And I never walk out not dripping in sweat or feeling so proud of myself for things I thought I could never accomplish!”

Those are some pretty strong words, huh?

I definitely recommend this class to those looking to broaden their horizons and try out something new.  Also, for those former dancers out there like me (ahem PCDC and/or DP ladies!) that would like to still incorporate ballet into their lives without needing to commit to a competitive dance company or feel nervous in an uptight environment /really advanced class, this is the class for you.  You can revolve it around your own schedule, own levels, and still get a hardcore workout!  You can even do BalletFIT™ in the comfort of your own homes through Gina’s VirtualFIT programs.  How cool, right?

And just so you know, BalletFIT™ isn’t the only class that’s offered at DanceFIT – there are a ton of other classes too, including Arms & Abs, Cardio & Core, Candlelit Power Yoga Flow, Cardio KickFIT, Love Your Legs, Music Video Dance, Survive The Holidays Bootcamp, Zumba, and of course all the DanceFIT Kids classes and the 6FIT program.  I would love to try some others out soon, especially the 6FIT challenge program, where participants make a commitment to get themselves moving each day and find creative & easy ways to eat healthy despite busy and on the go lives.  Totally in line with my blog’s mission, and it really encourages members to be accountable for their own day-to-day habits!  There are teams, rules, and prizes at the end of each six week session.  Sounds like a good beginning of 2012 activity if you ask me.  🙂

And now for the giveaway! 

Gina has kindly offered to give away one free BalletFIT class to one random reader that leaves a comment on this post – both new or current students are welcome to participate!!

You can get additional contest entries if you:

  • Like the Fitness & Feta Facebook page
  • Like the DanceFIT Facebook page
  • Share the giveaway on your own Facebook page to let all your friends know about it.  

Just make sure you post a separate comment for each entry you do since I pick the winners at random based off of what number commenter you are.  So if you leave a comment and also like my Facebook page, make sure to leave a second comment saying that you liked my Facebook page, a third for sharing the giveaway, etc. 

Good luck – I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday!