Balletone Sole Synthesis: Take TwoShannon Griffiths Fable
Year Released: 2011
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“Balletone Sole Synthesis: Take Two” is a 56 min. ballet-inspired workout, and it is led by Shannon Fable. The menu has the option to play each segment by chapter (warm-up, segments 1-4 & cool-down), or play all (entire workout). There is a “bonus clips” chapter (w/ 4 sections) to use as an add-on to the primary workout (but I have not viewed or used them). The three focuses in each segment are called fitness (exercises in parallel stance), ballet (exercises w/ turned out feet/hips) & yoga (total body, used for active recovery). Shannon does not cue w/ ballet names for exercises, they’re referred to in laymen’s terms (demi/small plie is knee bend, grand plie is wide squat) and even for the yoga poses, so anyone will likely feel it is user friendly (not intimidated by the cues or terms used). Shannon demos each sequence by teaching the lower body movement, then adding arm movements & practicing at a slow pace (4 times), 8 more times at a faster pace, then repeat on the other side. The exercises are performed w/ control (feel graceful & powerful), and work on balance, coordination, endurance and there is a cardio effect.
I liked that the movements felt fluid, moved in different directions (lateral, forward, backward) w/ various arm patterns (but logical & simple to follow). The warm-up is excellent w/ a lot of time spent on warming up the feet properly & teaching proper form for basic exercises (rare in a video dance workout). I don’t tend to care for most ballet/barre workouts (the ones that focus on small range of motion movements w/ endless pulses, feels very unlike a dance class/workout), so this one is nice because it is not like those barre workouts (move around in fluid patterns, in standing positions).
Music: instrumental, different types w/ various beats (not the typical canned music).
Set: wood floor w/ gray curtain/backdrop w/ orange/brownish lighting.
Warm-up (13:35 min.)
Introduction by Shannon
Start in standing position w/ narrow stance & parallel feet>Wiggle toes> lift just toes up & hold, reverse motion> from lifted position, slowly roll each toe to floor, starting w/ pinky toe> lift just big toe & lower> alternate lifting & lowering the big toe & other 4 (move as a unit)> tap (right) foot w/ heel on floor, then other side> repeat.
Elevate (right) heel, move onto ball of foot, then flip foot over (pointed, toes curled), reverse motion, then on other side> repeat w/ fast pace> Knee bend, elevate heels (onto balls of feet), reverse motion> faster pace.
Overhead arms, pull shoulders down a bit, then lower arms, shoulder roll (rear)> Overhead arms w/ head tilt up, lower arms w/ head tilt down> Roll-down: tuck chin roll upper body down & into rounded spine, then move into flat back w/ head leading movement> reverse motion into spinal roll, into standing up.
Squat (narrow stance)> knee bend (not hip driven like squat)> alternate two exercises> after standing, add turned-out feet> knee bends w/ turned out feet (demi plies)> add arms: out to side then sweep to front w/ knee bend> add overhead arms: out to side, then sweep overhead w/ knee bend> Elevate heels (turned out feet, heels together), then lift arms overhead to side, then lower heels> repeat sequence (starting w/ knee bends w/ arms).
Point (right) foot to side, flex foot, then reverse motion (point foot, slide into meet other heel)> repeat on other side> repeat at faster pace> Point to side, lower heel and hold (wider position of feet), then alternating pointing feet, lowering heels & shifting weight to both sides> knee bends in wide position (grand plie)> add arms: sweep to floor w/ knee bend, out to side w/ lift> lower into plie, pivot & turn side (lunge position), reverse motion> repeat at faster pace on same side> add arms: arms to side w/ plie, one sweep to meet other in front w/ lunge, & overhead for return to starting (standing) position> add pointed foot to standing position> add leg lift off floor to standing position> add knee lift (turned out, toes rests on inside of other leg)> from knee lift w/ overhead arms, twist knee into body, reverse motion, then extend leg to side w/ arms to side, repeat then lower extended leg to floor, lower heels> plies w/ arm sweep down & to sides> repeat sequence on other side (start from plie pivot to lunge).
Goddess pose: in lowered position of grand plie w/ bent elbows (45 degrees), then lift up> hinge at hips (flat back) & hold> the lower to floor for forward bend, and roll up to standing position> alternating side lunges (wide stance, turned out feet)>add arms: arm sweep to each side> 3 side lunges then stand w/ pointed foot leg/extended to side (overhead arm, same side as extended leg), alternate sides> lift leg of floor for more challenge> turn feet in parallel, then squats w/ arm scoop (arms sweep to front, then pull in to reverse motion).
Segment 1 (10:20 min.)
Fitness- Squats (narrow stance) w/ arm scoop> rear lunge then leg lift, hold> bend standing leg & hinge forward, hold> add arms: reach to front for lunge, opposite side arm (to leg lunging) opens to back, gaze follows, then returns to front, open to side (upside down V) w/ leg lift & w/ hinge forward same side arm moves from Upside down V to other side, w/ torso rotation> repeat on other side.
Ballet- Squats (narrow stance) w/ arm scoop> hands on hips> hold in lowered position, then stand & turn out feet> demi plies> foot points, leg extends to front (right), lift off floor, swing to back, lower heel> point rear foot & lift leg off floor, bend knee (attitude position) & hold, then extend (straight) leg to back w/ hinge forward, front leg bends> reverse motion (stand up w/ bent rear leg), lower leg for heels to meet> add bent leg to standing leg, when other leg extends to front> add arms: arms out to side w/ pointed foot front, leg lift, leg swing & pointed foot rear, overhead for bent leg lift (both lifts), both on knees (or one on knee, same side as leg extension reaches forward) for hinge forward w/ rear leg extension> repeat on other side.
Yoga- Rear lunge (right)> tuck pelvis for hip flexor stretch> add arm reach forward> same side arm as front leg reaches towards back> then lift front arm overhead & rotate torso> arm returns to front> perform at faster pace> feet together & shoulder rolls> repeat on other side> Squats (narrow stance) w/ arm scoop.
Segment 2 (10:09 min.)
Fitness- Squats (narrow stance) w/ arm scoop> Leg abduction (lift) to side (right), lower leg to floor (other leg bends), step into side lunge, shift to other side and stand (w/ right leg off floor)> cross leg in front of body (in air), reverse motion, then lower leg to floor (next to other)> add arms: out to side w/ leg abduction, hands on knees for lower leg & lunges, out to side w/ leg cross & back> perform at faster pace> repeat on other side.
Ballet- Squats (narrow stance) w/ arm scoop> hands on hips> hold in lowered position, then stand & turn out feet> demi plies> Find the knee (knee lift w/ foot on other leg), extend leg out to side, lowers to floor, leg lifts up & close the heels (foot slides into meet other foot> add alternating side lunge in wide (squat) plie position (3), then slide foot into meet other> add knee bend to standing leg w/ the leg extension to side> add arms: forward sweep w/ “Find the Knee,” out to side for leg extension & close the heels, sweep to (same) sides w/ lunges> perform at faster pace> repeat on other side.
Yoga- Warrior 2 (right)> straighten legs & arms overhead to form X> repeat on other side> perform at faster pace.
Segment 3 (9:41 min.)
Fitness- Alternate step side, wide squat, knee lift & hold> extend leg (right) forward w/ pointed foot, other leg bends> reverse motion into knee lift, then extend leg rear for lunge (straight leg), then step next to other foot> repeat and add arms: arm reach forward w/ squat and arms to sides w/ knee lift, then arm reach front w/ point forward & overhead w/ knee lift, hands touch floor (or thighs) & upper body lean w/ rear lunge> perform at faster pace> repeat on other side.
Ballet- Squats (parallel, narrow stance)> demi plie (turned out feet, heels together)> grand plie(feet apart/wide stance of legs), then lift heels in lowered position> lower heels, then straighten legs & point right foot (straight leg) to side> Circle leg to front: bent leg rotates to front (hip/foot still turned out), then straighten leg w pointed foot, lower to floor, slide foot back to other> add knee bend to standing leg when the other Circles to front> add arms: out to side w/ grand plie, heel lifts & point foot, reach front w/ Circle to front, overhead for point to floor & slide back> perform at faster pace> repeat on other side.
Yoga- Goddess pose: in lowered position of grand plie w/ bent elbows (45 degree)> lift & push arms to side (straighten)> side bend w/ overhead arm & gaze upward> repeat on other side> perform at faster pace> squats w/ arm scoop.
Segment 4 (7:15 min.)
Fitness-One legged squat: ball of foot (right) rests on floor> perform OL squat (right), then forward lunge (right)> add bicep curl arms to OL squat & hip hinge w/ arm scoop (forward, overhead, sides) to forward lunge> repeat on other side.
Ballet-Squats (narrow stance) w/ small arm scoop> hands on hips> hold at lowered position> turn out feet> One-legged (demi) plie squat: ball of foot (right) rests on floor> plie, then straighten that leg & point to front> step onto front foot & lunge w/ upper body lean forward (front knee bent, back leg straight)> push back to reverse motion> add arms: out to side then lower down w/ plie, out to side w/ point front, reach forward w/ lunge & out to side w/ step back into starting position> faster pace> repeat on other side.
Yoga-Elbow rolls, then shoulder circles (both rear)> Eagle prep: legs parallel, narrow stance of feet, perform knee up (lifts w/ foot attached to other leg) then cross over other leg & lower down, reverse motion> add arms: out to side w/ knee up, cross in front (elbows stacked)> repeat on other side> squats w/ arm scoop.
Cool-down (5:35 min.)
Shoulder roll (rear)> elbow roll (rear)> arm circle (rear)> single am circle w/ head turn to back> overhead arms, bend & head looks up> same arm position, head to neutral position, side bend (right)> arms extend in front (chest level) w/ hands clasped, chin tucked> reverse motion, arms come overhead and cross in back (elbows) w/ head tilt, both sides> overhead arms, bend & head looks up> same arm position, head to neutral position, side bend (left).
Hug knee into chest w/ hands holding, ankle rotations> rear lunge, then pelvic tuck for hip flexor stretch w/ (same side)single arm reach forward> both arms reach forward> same arm reach overhead w/ side bend.
Figure 4 (lowered position of standing pigeon pose w/ namaste arms): start w/ right leg bent, w/ turned out hip, ankle rests on other leg’s thigh, arms are bent, held to chest level w/ palms facing each other, sit hips back to lower position> more intensity: lower chest onto knees & hold> deeper stretch: lower head & hands hold onto calves for static hold> repeat on other side.
Overhead arms then reverse motion & swan dive into forward bend> roll up & overhead arms w/ inhalation & reverse motion.
Shannon has a very genuinely pleasant (and calm) personality, she clearly explains the form w/out too much chatter (similar demeanor in her other workouts). She is very encouraging (okay to modify, take a rest, not add in arms, do what one is capable of) w/out seeming fake/forced and the focus is on movement (no talk of looks). I’m sure she would be an excellent instructor to take a live class with.