In local.fitness

fitBallet {Work-It Wednesday}

I am privileged to turn this Work-It-Wednesday blog post over to Julie Walsh, a Thousand Oaks native-turned-east coast resident.  She is the founder and creator of fitBallet, the best ballet-infused butt-kicking workout you’ll probably ever experience. Among her many accolades, she is also a stellar writer, a Harvard Law graduate, and a dance classmate of yesteryear.  I’ll let her take over from here 🙂

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I’ve been a dancer nearly my entire life. I was one of those babies toddling around in a fluffy tutu, and then I was that five year old stopping onstage in the middle of a tap routine to search for her mother. Later, after years of granola bars in the car and homework on my lap, I was a competition kid, spinning in endless circles on the waxed floor of almost every California high school gym. In college, I was the girl who owned more leotards than jeans, who based dates around rehearsals and never really got the telltale crimp of a bun out of my hair.

This is all to say: I know ballet. I know the support of the barre’s rounded wood under my hand, and the sense of elevator descent when my hamstrings feel gelatinous and I slide into the splits. I can feel the pull, up and in, that signaled the start of every class, when we all inhaled our bellybuttons toward our spines and thought–this time–that we just might make them touch.

 

I graduated with a BA in Dance from the University of California at Irvine, but I didn’t choose performing as a career. The pull was strong, but I wanted a mental profession, something secure. (Or so I thought.) So, I wandered a little, tried a few things. All along, I kept returning to the barre. Any physical action has always been centering for me, but ballet is something more. In the first few shifting moments of class, as you lift your arms up and out for pliés, there’s time to look around the room and watch everyone else mirror your movements. You’re all part of a tradition, a bodily art. That tradition might have some dark corners–no one’s ever thought they looked hot in a leotard–but it also incorporates some pretty elevated ideals: elegance, beauty, extreme dedication. I’ve always thought of ballet dancers as the epitome of femininity; not because they’re thin, but because they exhibit a combination of grace and power unmatched in any other discipline.

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The only trouble with getting your body to that unmatched level is…your dedication to ballet has to also be unmatched. So, when I found myself enrolled in law school, freezing in the Boston winter and undergoing a real dark night of the soul in relation to all the ridiculous amounts of assigned reading, I wasn’t quite sure how to proceed. I couldn’t take two or three hours out of my day to attend multiple ballet classes, but I wasn’t ready to sign myself up for the “1L Fifteen” either. In the interest of staying fit in as little time as possible, I started studying and experimenting with other forms of exercise: Crossfit, barre classes and yoga.

Every discipline has its merits, but nothing felt right to my body. Traditional weight workouts made feel feel crunched and bulky, and yoga didn’t make me sweat enough to feel like anything was actually happening. Little by little, I started putting together workouts for myself that took the best from the disciplines I loved: a fast, circuit-based platform combined with exercises from ballet that emphasized elongated muscles and muscle tone.

This is how fitBallet was born, and now I’m so, so glad to be able to share it with you. Below is a sample workout that gives a general idea of the training I’m offering on the fitBallet website. Try it out, and then come on over to the site and see what we’re all about.

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Enjoy!

~ Julie {guest LL805 blogger}

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