1Benefits of barre
Who wouldn’t want a dancer’s posture? Classical ballet classes are not just for five-year-olds. All about alignment, coordination, and sheer hard work, ballet is a brilliant way to get toned while giving your brain a workout too.
That’s the thinking behind Barre classes, which incorporate elements of ballet into low-impact workouts that promise to sculpt your body into an altogether leaner and more graceful shape.
Studios like The Bar Method and Pure Barre put their own spin on the practice, but basically you do a ton of pliés in various positions — feet turned out, feet in parallel, up on your toes, feet out wide — until your legs start to shake uncontrollably.
“Shaking is good!” your instructor will tell you. “It means your muscles are changing.”
There’s a lot more to Jews and ballet than Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis in Black Swan. From the Russian megastar Maya Plisetskaya to Dame Alicia Markova, some of the most famous ballerinas of all time were Jewish.
These days, Israeli choreographers are creating a buzz in the dance world. At Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London, there are three Israeli choreographers — Hofesh Shechter, Jasmin Vardimon and Sharon Eyal — among just 16 associate artists. Perhaps most inspiring of all is Jewish-Australian dancer Eileen Kramer, who is still performing at the age of 103.
3What to wear
For help getting motivated, consider that dance wear is just so eternally cool, with its effortless layering and those cropped sweats designed to fall off the shoulder, Flashdance-style. Not surprisingly, activewear brands have caught on. Under Armour and principal ballerina Misty Copeland launched the Misty Copeland Signature Collection this year, and Athleta has just released its new collaboration with the San Francisco Ballet.
So even if your tendu technique is not quite there yet, you can at least look the part.