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Although I definitely liked this video, it was not quite what I expected. The box bills it as 25 mintues of ballet toning followed by 25 minutes of Pilates matwork, but in reality, the workout is not that well defined. Here's my breakdown:
The video begins with 17 minutes of standing ballet toning. This section did not use any equipment, and the movements were very simple, although sometimes it took me a few reps to get the hang of them. The flow of the movements feels very graceful, and it reminded me of Kari Anderson's Angles, Lines and Curves. The moves are different from the ballet section of Breakthru Pilates Plus in that they are less strenuous and more flowing. The next 7 minutes consisted of transitional seated stretches that were a combination yoga-type stretches and Pilates prep work (I don't really understand how this could be considered part of the ballet portion).
Following the stretches is a 21 minute mat workout. I was expecting the traditional Pilates mat sequence, and although many of the standard moves were included (eg, leg circles), they were not in any particular order. I did like the exercise variations Ellen offerred, but I also missed some of the Pilates mainstays such as the hundred. However, this section effectively covers the abdominals and back, and it also contains some tough plank work, including two sets of push-ups. The segment ends with a few yoga-like stretches.
The final three minutes of this workout consists of additional standing ballet moves; these exercises provided a nice stretch to finish. The workout was less strenuous than I had expected (I'm probably at an intermediate Pilates level), and thus I plan to use it as a light day tape. The ballet moves are basic enough to be performed by anyone, but since a few of the Pilates moves are a bit challeneging, I'd recommend some familiarity with Pilates before attempting this workout.
Ellen has the same down-to-earth, likeable personality that shines through in her Crunch Pilates vidoes. However, you can tell that this is one of her earlier efforts, as she is a bit less polished and not quite as adept with her cuing (also, the studio is very sparse, and she frequenly readjusts her microphone). Still, I like her style and enjoy working out with her.
I harbor a suspicion that Ellen Barrett could do much better than this.
I traded this tape after using it once. I found the music (techno with an emphasis on the higher registers) really jarring (am I getting old?). I didn't like the wierdly antiseptic white set, and I didn't think it was particularly instructive regarding either ballet or pilates. I think Ellen is pandering to a youth market - her company's called Fitgrrrl or some such thing.
There are many tapes I would put ahead of this one for similar hybrid workouts - including most Jennifer Kries, NYC Ballet, or Ballet Bootcamp, and, for fun factor - Yoga Booty Ballet. Yeah, I would definitely do Method Target Specifics before I did BalletPilates again.