Former NYCB dancer Mary Helen Bowers trained Natalie Portman to stand, walk and all-around look like a ballerina for her role in "Black Swan." Since then, Bowers has launched a ballet-inspired fitness program called "Ballet Beautiful," offering private training, plus online live classes, DVDs and now the just-released "Ballet Beautiful" book, complete with a foreward by the devoted Portman. The regimen promises to lengthen, strengthen, tone and improve the "poise" of its clients.
This sounds like a great way for dancers to condition or stay in shape during the off-season, but I'm curious, as with other ballet workout programs, how well this will work for non-dancers. The photos show professional ballerinas demonstrating exercises, and the cover of the book even features Bowers in her pointe shoes! Civilians, if I can call them that, will have trouble acheiving that kind of ballet look no matter how many books they read and interactive workout classes they attend. The private training sessions with Bowers might come closer to doing the trick, since she'll be there to give live corrections, but if you're going to go that far, why not just attend a true and actual ballet class?
What do you think of the ballet workout craze?
After having spent a lifetime looking at ourselves in the mirror, constantly appraising, who of us wouldn't want to take a dance class in the dark? Two Australian dance students, Alice Glenn and Heidi Barrett, had the same thought in 2009 when they founded No Lights No Lycra, a global dance community that offers dancers and nondancers alike the chance to get their groove on in a dark space, where there's no light, no Lycra, no technique, no teacher and no steps to learn. It's just a place to lose yourself in the music and find your own dance mojo. The event became so popular that it spread past its Melbourne beginnings, first throughout Australia and now, globally.
Four incredible educators: Joanne Chapman, Claudio Muñoz, Pamela VanGilder and Kathleen Isaac foster their students' love of dance, whether instilling artistry, offering rigorous training or giving special needs students an outlet through movement.
When Jennie Somogyi retired from New York City Ballet, she found herself in high demand as a teacher. Parents called, texted and persisted. "I don't even know how some of them got my contact information," she says with a laugh. But Somogyi, who departed from NYCB in 2015 after a 22-year career, hadn't made any definitive plans for the next stage of her life. "I just like to see how things move me," she says. She discovered, though, that she enjoyed the process of giving private lessons and seeing the rapid progress students could make. Over time, she realized that teaching was something she wanted rather than needed.
Does your studio slow down when the weather warms up? If you don't offer a summer session, June through August can be a cash-flow challenge. One popular—and easy—strategy is to offer weeklong camps instead. We spoke to three professionals to learn how they make summer camp work.
This week Ballet Hispánico launched its first ChoreoLaB workshop, a summer intensive intended to better prepare aspiring professional dancers—with more than just excellent technique. Artistic director Eduardo Vilaro wanted to create a program that bridges the school and the company, to help dancers transitioning into the professional world and better hone their skills.