A Ballerina and Athena

Today, I fulfilled my dreams of becoming a ballerina...

It happened in a barre class led by Athena.

As a child, my mother enrolled me in dance class. Not soon after I was kicked out of dance class for being the rebel I am. I can still remember it - a pretty Tiffany blue rotary phone was what I was more fascinated with over pirouettes. I would use that pretty phone to call people, my family. Apparently, I had an obsession with telephones early on in life, because I also remember being with my mom in a Radio Shack, and using a phone that they had on display and it was connected! Again, I used it to call my family. I forgot about that until just now, do you remember that Mom? Anyway, the class began to follow my lead and wanted to call people,too! I guess this is when my personality developed and my leadership quality emerged, probably not the best timing. The instructor didn't like our phone breaks and eventually told my mom to pack my ballerina slippers.

No ballerina slippers necessary for barre;bare is fine. The woman who instructed this class is Athena; fun, energetic, motivating. She leads you through a series of strengthening, low impact movements targeting your core, arms, legs, and, of course, your butt. All by using some basic ballet movements such as, a Plié, a Relevé and turn outs. Movements I never got to learn in dance class two decades ago.

The barre is used as a prop to balance while performing exercises that focus on isometric strength training (holding your body still while you contract a specific set of muscles) combined with high reps of small range-of-motion movements. At Athena's, there is only one barre that is attached to a mirrored wall, like you imagine the barre would be, but there are also two others you can claim your spot on that are portable, anchored by heavy dumbbells. In addition to utilizing the barre, SMALL hand weights are used. Initially I picked 10lb-ers, NOTICING everyone else had small hand weights, but I ignored the fact because I just thought I was stronger than everybody, haha. My barre neighbor then suggested I should consider a smaller weight, like a three-pound baby weight, because there are a high amount of reps utilizing them. Suggestion taken. Those baby pound dumbbells were used to do jabs, upper cuts and air punches, all while in Relevé.  I NEVER would have survived using those 10lb-ers. You will also use a small, slightly deflated, soft rubber ball and a yoga mat, for the latter part of the class for more core focused work.

Some major benefits of barre are improved posture, muscle definition, weight loss, increased flexibility and reduced stress. You don't need to be a dancer to take a class or even be flexible. I don't consider myself to be too flexible and I managed to Plié.  Being as this was a completely different workout that I was used to, it was somewhat of a challenge, but once you become familiar with the movements and terminology, your inner ballerina emerges. There were definitely moments of burning buns and fiery abs.

I love trying new ways of working out, it's always good to train the body in other ways. If you are interested in trying a class Athena's offers a free first class. Living Social is ALSO running a great deal .

Thank you Athena for helping me find my inner ballerina, and for not kicking me out of class, even after I was running late.

Published by Amber Lynn


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