We all know that Pilates is great for us but so is Ballet, put them together and it’s a match made in heaven…….we’ve seen numerous ‘ballet fusion’ workouts pop up, particularly in recent years, so what makes ‘Soul Ballet Barre’ different?
Firstly, I am both a ballet (and dance) teacher and a Pilates instructor so when I was approached to teach a ‘Ballet Barre’ class, I thought long and hard about just what that should entail, especially as I was to be teaching at a designated Pilates studio. I wanted to ensure the class brought all the benefits of both, the safety of the Pilates principles with all the discipline and FUN of Ballet…..
To give you a bit of background, I took ballet classes from the age of 2.5, taking exams in RAD Ballet and continued to study RAD as well as ISTD Ballet during my 3 years at full time dance college. Finishing at age 21, having studied through to the grade known as Advanced 1.
When I was 19, my mum trained as a Pilates Instructor. Already fascinated by the body and movement, I got stuck in to studying alongside her as I lived at home during my college years and took her Pilates classes whenever I could. It was years later, after a 10 year career as a professional dancer that I finally undertook the full Pilates training myself as a way to understand how to protect my body and take these principles not only into the Pilates world, but the dance world as well.
So I bring you Soul Ballet Barre, a class where terminology is familiar whether you’ve taken Pilates or Ballet. A class of TECHNIQUE, where you learn exactly how Pilates and Ballet resonate with one another as well as how they differ. It could easily be viewed as a standing, turned out Pilates or a mixed level adult ballet class. I aim to challenge every bit of you, inside and out, in a safe and encouraging environment.
Ballet technique, if executed incorrectly, can be a fast way to injure yourself. So we focus on getting it right: breaking down each component, often relating it back to Pilates; taking our time; checking with each position of the feet that our turnout comes from the hip joint; with each plie that the knees are in good alignment; with every rise, the ankles are stable. We use ballet as a way of improving posture, gaining long, lean muscles, flexibility, poise, grace and intrinsic strength in the feet, ankles, legs, hips, core and arms.
Sometimes we take to the mat or use the wall or a small prop to get the muscles firing correctly, building the technique, understanding and strength, muscle by muscle, little by little and then bam taking you beyond your perceived limits of balance, strength, flexibility and my favourite, coordination. Soul Ballet Barre is as great for the mind as it is for the body. Ballet (dance), keeps you young in every way - sharp in the mind, supple, strong and centered in the body…..
It’s not the ‘gung ho’ type of experience you might expect if you look at other ballet fusion classes but do not be fooled - it is a tough workout. I do not generally use music, so that you can take things at your own speed should you need, modifications can be offered so you’re working with your body in harmony, also allowing me time to give each individual pointers as well as praise. This makes the class a peaceful and calm experience, one you could take to destress as well as get an all over body workout!
You can find me at the Soul Ballet Barre on Wednesdays at 6pm for a 60 minute class which is sure to work your body and soul!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR...
Katherine is a professional dancer, dance teacher - with a background in Ballet - and also a Stott trained Pilates Instructor in Matwork and Reformer. Katherine runs our Soul Ballet Barre classes fusing together Pilates work into a standing, ballet inspired session.