Ballet inspired workouts have come to the fore in recent years, and I dipped my toes in the fitness trend at the Ballates Barre class at Aorta Fitness in Ballsbridge.
The mere thought of doing a ballet dance class fills me with dread, due to my inherently inelegant nature, but with Ballates Barre, luckily, you don't need to have excellent coordination and ramrod straight posture to take part.
The class has been devised by agile ballerina Kitty Maguire, who has combined her knowledge of ballet, pilates and yoga to create a challenging, but fun, workout routine.
It begins with a warm up, using ballet and aerobic movements to loosen up your muscles and find your core. The barre is then used for a series of leg exercises, such as plies, squats and leg kicks, which target the quads, glutes and inner thighs. This is definitely the most challenging part of the class, but after just a few weeks of taking Ballates classes, I have noticed a definite improvement in the definition of my legs. The targeted and precise exercises both lengthen and tone your muscles, which definitely makes it worth the exertion.
Kitty uses a combination of small weights and exercise balls to thoroughly challenge each participant, no matter what their fitness levels are. Equally, she provides easier exercises for beginners, which you can then build on in later classes. I noticed that my legs adapted to the movements after a few classes, particularly standing on pointe, which meant that I could chart my improvement from class to class, which was very satisfying.
After the barre section of the class, you then move to floor exercises, which combines pilates movements and yoga stretches to tone your core and arms. Your abs are definitely screaming during this portion of the class, but the payoff is a flatter, more toned stomach and stronger core.
The main aspect that I love about Ballates Barre is that it's a full body workout which strengthens, tones, improves flexibility and balance, while remaining fun. After just one class, I was hooked, and find it promotes the same feel-good feeling you get from a yoga and pilates class.
Kitty, who gives each class her all and is a master at guiding you through each exercise, explained that the class has a wide appeal.
"Ballates Barre classes have a broad following. It will appeal to ladies who did ballet as a child, who will get a nostalgic feeling from doing the class," she said.
"But this is not a dance class, it's an exercise class using three different disciplines to sculpt and tone your body. So all women of shapes, fitness level and experience in physical movement will benefit from Ballates Barre classes!"
The class is held to a soundtrack of high-energy tunes (often from the 90s) to get you going, and ends with a long portion of relaxing stretches to soothe tight muscles.
I leave each Ballates Barre session looking forward to the next one, which is something that rarely happens with exercise classes for me!
For further information, you can contact Kitty at [email protected], or call 0876291373.
There will be a Ballates Barre workshop on Saturday, March 1 from 12 - 1.15pm. It will cost €17. Places are limited, so call or text Kitty to book.
A 6 week Ballates Barre course at Aorta Fitness costs €90, click here for more information.
Keep an eye out on the Ballates Barre Facebook page for further updates.
50 Eastmoreland Lane,