The Ballet Workout 2: Strength and ConditioningMelissa Lowe
Year Released: 1998
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The video is broken down into 2 approximately 30 minute workouts starting with brief floor work, then barre work, then some center work. I like the 2nd workout more than the first but found it more difficult. Actually, both workouts were rather humbling and I am amazed that I used to be able to do these things fairly easily. The exercises require a lot of strength and flexibility. I think anybody who tries to do this tape without any ballet background will be frustrated. I definitely did not get all of the steps the first time through, and I do have ballet experience, but since I am pretty laid back about that it didn't bother me. It's not an aerobic workout so you don't have to worry about your heartrate if you have to stop and rewind a few times. Melissa frequently changes legs, or directions or whatever without telling you so you really have to watch what the class is doing which can be tricky if you have your head down during a stretch or something. All in all, I like the tape and will keep it, although I will probably only do it occasionally.
Melissa Lowe is pleasant and no-nonsense. If you are expecting cueing like Cathe Frierich's, however, you will be disappointed.
If you have some dance background, have strong center mucles and are fairly flexible, you'll probably love this work out. This class truly works your posture, extension, and turn out like no other tape available. It has better production qualities than other ballet class tapes out there and is more demanding. If you are frustrated by dancy workouts, or not being able to do a move perfectly the first (or even fifth time) through, or not doing the moves as well as the cast, skip this video. Lowe has selected a group of obviously skilled dancers, some of whom are have more flexibility and turn out than she has. And although this is a far more professionally filmed tape than Ballet-cise, it is far from high-tech and big-budget. Piano music accompanies the work out. If you like tapes with all the big bangs and whistles, the Ballet Workout will not hold your attention. If you have very little or no dance experience, try Ballet-cise for Beginners first. The production isn't the greatest but the instructor very carefully explains posture, knee-action and other suggestions that will come in handy for this very advanced tape. There is also a Ballet Workout 1, which I haven't seen, that is supposed to be more beginner friendly. This video always challenges me and regular use has improved my flexibility, extension and turn-out, which I use in ice-skating. Visible benefits have not come as quickly from this tape, although I definitely feel it in my legs.
Lowe does a wonderful job at recreating an authentic ballet class atmosphere in this tape. She is a very professional instructor who obviously knows her stuff. She teaches for the student who already knows at least a little about ballet, proper dance carriage and posture. It is very helpful to have had at least a little dance experience and she does assume knowledge on the user's part. Further, it is helpful to watch this video several times through since she does not always teach or cue some of the connecting steps, rather they are standard connecting steps taken out of a ballet class.