Video Fitness

Dance with Me: Ballet Workout

Stephanie Herman

I’m reviewing this workout after doing it several times in the months I’ve had it.

General workout breakdown: This workout contains three sections: Alignment & Ballet Workout, Ballet Barre, and Body Flow Stretch. Stephanie claims her technique combines dance (here mainly ballet), yoga, Pilates, Gyrotonics, and physical therapy.
Alignment & Ballet (32 min.) consists of flowing ballet—and some modern dance and jazz elements—all done standing. Stephanie puts together little combinations, but they’re not built up formally. It’s more like doing little blocks of dances.
Ballet Barre (5-6 min.) includes typical ballet-type lower body and torso stretches usually done at the bar.
GymRatt has broken down and described the Body Flow Stretch (49 min.) so well on her description of the Dance with Me: Jazz Workout; the Body Flow Stretch segment is the same on both.

Level: I’d recommend this to someone with at least a little experience in dance and stretching. I think experienced beginners through low intermediate may get the most out of this DVD. I had it when I was more or less a low intermediate, and it got my heartrate up decently and stretched me out well. Now that I’m a high intermediate in terms of cardio, it’s too easy, but I think I could still get some use out of the stretch (I’m an intermediate in Pilates and a low intermediate in yoga).

Class: Stephanie alone.

Music: soft instrumental music, some of which I recognized from some Quick Fixes and Crunch yoga workouts. I like the music, so it’s too bad it’s so quiet you can barely hear it.

Set: The first two segments find Stephanie on a stage with a large screen behind; Stephanie wears dark clothes, which fade into the dark interior.

Production: soft sound. The picture’s decent, but the camera angles aren’t always the best. For the Alignment & Ballet and Ballet Barre portions, it sort of looks like Stephanie’s on stage and someone in the audience has the camera.

Equipment: nothing in particular for the Alignment & Ballet (although you should be able to glide gracefully across the floor—Stephanie uses split sole sneakers), something about barre height (a chair is a good alternative) for the Ballet Barre, and a mat (or equivalent) for Body Flow Stretch.

Space Requirements: For the dance section you’ll need to be able to take at least two big steps to each side, front, and back. For the stretch you should be able to lie down with arms and legs extended as well as to sweep your limbs to each side.

DVD Notes: The three sections have no chapters within them. Each takes you back to the main menu as soon as it finishes. Additionally, there is a 6 min. interview with Stephanie.

Conclusion: This is a gem in the rough. It has its flaws, and yet there are some nice little parts about it that make it worth a look. In the interest of shelf space, though, I think I’m going to pass this along to someone who’ll use it more. (I have so many other workouts that are now useful for lighter days, I prefer more intense cardio, and I seem to be doing pure Pilates or pure yoga rather than fusion workouts these days.)

Instructor comments: Stephanie, a former dancer, is graceful and flexible but not overly intimidating about that. She clearly loves dance and sharing her passion for movement. She isn’t the greatest cuer, doesn’t include a lot of form instruction or directional cues, and has her own way of expressing things (e.g. “the hamstring-buttock connection”), but her personality is charming enough and her demeanor encouraging enough that her faults as an instructor don’t seem such a big deal. She has a rather goofy sense of humor (e.g. when she has her leg wrapped in her arm, she waves her hand underneath and says, “Hello!” I laughed when she did it, because I do that sort of thing to my s.o., but I found it a little odd when she did the exact same thing on the other side).


March 6, 2006

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