Victoria’s Secret Models Get Ballet Beautiful

Mary Helen Bowers was a dancer with New York City Ballet for ten years.

Ballet Beautiful creator Mary Helen Bowers has a new client list: Victoria's Secret's elite models, the Angels, recently used the former New York City Ballet dancer’s ballet-inspired workout to prep for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which airs Tuesday, December 10.

Angels including Lily Aldridge, Doutzen Kroes, Lindsay Ellingson and Erin Heatherton trained six days a week with Bowers prior to the show’s November taping. Bowers says her workout is ideal for models as well as dancers, since both have to maintain toned but lean figures. Models and dancers, she told Harper’s Bazaar, “have to be so careful when you work out. You can't afford to pick up a workout that completely changes your body shape.”

After retiring from the stage, Bowers developed Ballet Beautiful as a low-impact fitness plan for women to strengthen their “ballet muscles”—inner thighs, hamstrings, glutes, abs and arms. While traveling with Natalie Portman as the actress’ personal trainer during the filming of Black Swan, Bowers began offering online sessions to keep her New York clients up to speed. She was pleased with the results. Sweat-lovers can now take one-on-one or group virtual classes from the comfort of their homes as well as in-person at Bowers’ SoHo studio.

For more: Learn how Bowers developed effective online classes despite being unable to give hands-on corrections.

Photo by Yelena Yemchuk, courtesy of Mary Helen Bowers

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By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

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