Ballet FitnessNicky McGinty
Year Released: 2012
Video Fitness reviews may not be copied, quoted, or posted elsewhere without the permission of the reviewer
This ballet-inspired DVD is chaptered as follows: Swan Lake Arms (10 minutes), Firebird Core, Belly & Back (10 minutes), Nutcracker Hips, Butt & Thighs (15 minutes), Coppela (I think that’s how it was spelled) Legs (15 minutes), Cinderella Dance (10 minutes), Sleeping Beauty Relax & Stretch (5 minutes) – times are approximate.
Swan Lake arms begins with overhead arm reaches, with added plies, shoulder rolls, neck rolls, and full body rolls. This changes to shoulder rolls with side stretches, then arm reaches to side stretch to flat back stretch. We do some arm circles before moving to the floor for tricep dips, push-ups (she calls them press-ups), and a stretch. I thought the side stretches were very graceful. The voiceover was okay; it’s not my favorite thing, but at least the instructor mirror-cued.
Firebird begins on the floor, with frog legs (extending legs out, then bringing them back with feet together), single leg stretches (although she called them “bicycles”), oblique crunches, leg lifts, C-curve sit-ups, Pilates roll-ups, push-ups (she calls them press ups), swimming arms, and superman pose. Stretches here include child’s pose and cat/cow. I really liked the quiet, jazzy music.
Nutcracker starts with hydrant leg lifts (on knees, lift leg out to side, add side extension) followed by donkey kicks with extensions. She says to lower to your elbows if your wrists start getting sore. It’s helpful for beginners to get this type of “permission.” I noticed she didn’t work both side *exactly* the same. We move onto our sides for inner thigh lifts. She places her foot BEHIND the bottom leg so she can alternate an inner thigh lift with a leg-to-chest move. I am used to placing my foot IN FRONT of my bottom leg to prevent rocking onto my back hip – and I can’t be sure, but it looked to me like may have she rolled onto her own back hip. We sit up for a brief butterfly stretch, then move to the other side. Back on our side, we do leg lifts and a bicycle move before two brief stretches. I would have liked a reverse bicycle move as well, but I did that on my own anyway instead of the stretches.
Coppella starts with plies with overhead arms., then slow plies – after the previous mat work, I really felt these! Next we move into releves (up on toes) with stretched arms. I was disappointed she did not lift to the beat of the music; this is a pet peeve of mine, but I just lifted to the beat on my own. This is followed by lunges and a knee lift with added extension (full leg lift), then curtsy lunges with a passé and extension (foot to inside knee, then leg extends outward.) After doing both side and a quick back stretch, we move on to rear attitudes (rear kicks with bent knee) and arabesque lifts (straight leg lifts.) While the instructor used a chair, I didn’t want to drag mine out for these few exercises – I placed my hand against the wall and I was just fine.
Cinderella Dance begins with rear Arabesques (straight leg lifts) that transition to rear attitudes (lifts with bent knee) on one side, then the other. She does more plies and relevees (again not on the beat) followed by side steps with front passés and attitudes to rear Arabesque lifts. She made this look very fluid and graceful.
Sleeping Beauty begins with forward fold to modified chair pose, then down to the mat for cat/cow stretches. We sit up straight for seated butterfly and wide leg stretches, and transition to pigeon stretches and spinal twists. We finish on our backs with lifted leg stretches.
I really enjoyed the targeted ballet-infused exercises. The instructor’s voice was very soft and calm; sometimes too soft. There were times when it disappeared into the background music and I missed her cues. The background was pleasant (large room, exposed beams, twinkle lights) and I liked the classical background music. This would be a good addition to anyone’s ballet fitness repertoire.