Blog Archives

Trendy Barre Workouts: Giving Ballet a Bad Name?

Is it just me or does it seem like there is a new trendy ballet “barre” inspired workout popping up every day?

When you hear the word “barre” you think ballet. When I first heard about these “barre” workouts I have to say that I was very intrigued. I was even approached by a company here in San Diego to become an instructor since they had read about my background as a professional ballet dancer and fitness expert. Having professional experience in both, I figured I would give it a try. So I went to a few classes.

I assumed that the workout I would be getting would be similar to a ballet barre…Boy did I assume wrong. Don’t let the names fool you, these classes are NOTHING like ballet barre. In fact, they are quite the opposite.

The workouts I got were great, don’t get me wrong here. Just nothing like I had expected going into the class. Most of the exercises that we did involved a forced arch plie on demi pointe which in my experience as both a dancer and fitness expert only promote bulky thighs (which the instructors definitely had! Yikes!) if they are performed over a long period of time. My quadriceps were definitely fired up as I left the class having felt like I did a spin class.

Now please don’t think I’m hating, but as a well experienced professional ballet dancer and personal trainer I am bit critical of the exercise techniques that are using ballet terms to market their products. In fact, I promote a ballet inspired workout to my San Diego personal training clients called Ballet Body Boot Camp© so I am just as much at fault…But the difference is that I use real ballet exercises and I’m a ballet dancer so there’s no false advertising there.

I had a chance to speak with some of the other class participants and it was clear that they were under the impression that they were doing ballet exercises in the class. This is where I have a hard time because I feel that the integrity and interpretation of ballet training is being misrepresented.

Also, please don’t think that I am speaking on behalf of every “barre” method. This review is from two different methods that I tried here in San Diego. Honestly, there are so many out there these days that it would be impossible to review them all. Here is how I sum up my “barre” workout experiences.

Plus: These types of workouts are getting Women to workout and promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Minus: They may be using false advertisement, thus compromising the integrity of ballet.

Bottom line: If you want the best “barre” workout take an adult beginner ballet class.

Dancers or former dancer, Have you tried any of the “barre” inspired workouts? If so, what is your take?

Summer Program Audition Tips

If you are like most young dancers,  you are gearing up for 2010 Summer Intensive Program Auditions. You have been taking class every day and working on the corrections that your ballet teachers are giving you. You have been putting 100% into every ballet class, but you still feel unprepared. Does this sound like you?

Here are a few simple tips to help with the success of your 2010 Summer Program Auditions;

1.) Smile- No auditioner wants to look at a dancer who doesn’t look like he/she is enjoying themselves. Don’t plaster a fake cheesy grin on, but do make sure to look pleasant. This is the time when you need to use your acting skills the most. Even if you mess up, keep that positive and confident mindset. If you can keep that attitude, your face will show it!

2.) Don’t sweat the small stuff- Be your best you. Don’t look around you and size up the competition…this will only discourage you and make you feel less confident. Instead focus on yourself and think about how well prepared you are! Again, your confidence in yourself will shine through to the auditioner!

3.) Everyone makes mistakes- Yes, it is true that no one will have a perfect audition. The difference is that the best dancers are the ones who don’t let the auditioner see the mistakes. Stay poised even if you mess up instead of frowning or making a face. The auditioner doesn’t want to watch a dancer who is hard on herself. Save that for the classroom.

4.) Make Eye Contact- Look them in the eye, I dare you to! Laugh at their jokes. It’s okay to be human and show emotion. In fact, this will make you more likeable to the teachers.

I hope that these simple tips help you go confidently into that Summer Program Audition! If you are interested in learning more in-depth tips that will get you noticed in auditions, be sure to check out my eBook, The Ballet Audition Preparation Guide. You can download it instantaneously right to your computer without having to wait to go to the book store!

Merde in your auditions!

Nikol Klein Professional Ballet Dancer/ Certified Personal Trainer & Nutritionist

P.S. You can purchase The Ballet Audition Preparation Guide HERE!

Strength Training for Dancers

Here is a video of me performing some of the strength training techniques I use for Ballet Cross Training in the off-season.

You will notice some simple ballet moves taken up a notch. I do a lot of work in the parallel for strength and stability in my hips, knees and ankles. I also do lots of Plyometrics like the “Plie jump squats” that are shown in the video.

Please, don’t try this at home, and be sure to visit www.balletstrength.com for details on how you can gain Ballet Strength!

**By the way, my book, Beginning Ballet Strength is now available at www.balletstrength.com!

See you in the gym,

Nikol Klein, Professional Ballet Dancer, ISSA CPT/SPN

Effects of the Recession on the Dance Community

It’s all you hear about in the news, and it has effected the Dance Community.

It is hard to stay optimistic when you hear about companies such as New York City Ballet cutting as many as 11 dancers from their rosters. If NYCB, a company who I would consider top notch, is having financial issues, imagine how the small regional Dance Companies are struggling. (link to article)

Sarcamento Ballet cancelled the rest of it’s season. (link to article)

Even worse yet, no companies are hiring for the 2009-2010 season discouraging potential professional dancers from persuing their talents.

What do you do when this happens to you? How do you survive when you are laid off and have no place to dance? I have experienced this first hand as the company that I dance for had to cancel it’s February show of Coppelia due to lack of ticket sales. Instead of complaining about something I couldn’t control, I decided that I needed to do what was in my best interest.

You can look at these periods of layoff as blessings in disguise. Come on, you know you can’t dance forever, so this is the perfect opportunity to discover your other talents. Take this time off to enroll in a college class, pass on your knowledge by teaching dance, or think about heading off to a new company.

I have taken this wonderful opportunity to continue to develop my Personal Training business. Over the two months that I have been laid off from ballet, I have been able to sign on 10 new clients, create videos, and work on my marketing campaigns.

Be proactive. Don’t let these hard economic times get you down! Develop your other interests and begin paving a path to your career transition after dance.

-Nikol Klein, ISSA CPT/SPN and Professional Ballet Dancer

Learn More at www.nikolklein.com