07 January 2010

Ballet for the Heart

My favorite class to take at New York Sports Club was the NYC Ballet Workout, a joint collaboration between my gym and the ballet. It offered strength training and flexibility with an exercise routine of ballet positions that I hadn't practiced since childhood. We definitely would sweat, but it was balanced by the classical music and graceful moves led by our instructor, a professional ballerina. The class was so successful that two subsequent workout DVDs have been released.

When I read in the Post-Gazette that Bodiography Contemporary Ballet in Squirrel Hill was offering a new Ballet Workout course, I jeté at the chance. Also led by a ballerina, this class is definitely more of a workout involving a mat, weights and a balance ball, and aerobic exercise of ballet positions to fast-paced music. I can feel the strain in my abs today from last night's class.

Owner Maria Caruso's bio and mission are inspiring; she founded Bodiography to celebrate a healthy physique and teach classic ballet technique with educational excellence. (Teachers must have a 4-year degree, and Caruso herself has a master's.) The ballet company's next public performance is Heart in February at the Byham Theatre, inspired by heart transplant patients at UPMC.

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