Mention ballet and what usually pops to mind is the image of women in tutus and pointe shoes leaping around on stage. While not inaccurate, it’s certainly a stereotype that needs to be left behind.
Much like how women have begun lifting weights in the gym, which traditionally has been a predominantly masculine domain, men too have begun exploring supposedly more feminine workouts such as yoga and Pilates. Many gents have realised the all-encompassing benefits these workouts provide and have included them into their fitness regimes. But are they ready to try something even more daunting?
Life After The Last Dance
Enter Ballet Body (@balletbody), a ballet fitness studio that was launched late last year by former Singapore Dance Theatre ballerinas, Alison Carroll (@allyxcarroll) and Lisha Chin (@lishachina). Recently retired from the dance scene, the two young ladies got certified to teach Pilates and began embarking on a fitness instructor’s journey soon after.
“After our first year of teaching group classes, Alison and I realised that there were no places here that offered a fusion of ballet training with fitness in a way that we liked. So we came up with the Ballet Body concept,” shared Chin.
“What we really wanted was to run a ballet class with a touch of fitness and Pilates while still keeping to the integrity of the art form,” Carroll added.
Ballet Body offers three classes: Basics that’s aimed at beginners, Classic, focused on sculpting, toning, and strengthening the body, and Stretch, a session designed to aid in muscle recovery.
“In all of Ballet Body’s classes, you’re working on flexibility, strength, coordination and balance while connecting the mind with your body. It’s a great workout to complement your other forms of training,” Carroll explained.
We decided to put it to the test and invited three calisthenics enthusiasts as well as the men in the AUGUSTMAN team to go through the balletic paces.
Carroll led the class, guiding the men through the different exercises, which mainly comprised repetitive movements not unlike calisthenics. The difference was that these movements are designed to strengthen the accessory muscles used in ballet. The men had sculpted their bigger muscle groups but neglected the auxiliary ones.
I was more used to seeing our editor, Farhan (@thesecondmrhan), lift weights in the gym, and the calisthenics experts Zachary Lee (@exachary), Kenneth Seow (@kennethsbw.fitness) and Teh Wensen (@wenthesen) getting in shape at the pull up bars. So seeing these men work their muscles through pliés and arabesques was refreshing. It was quite the role reversal.
Unexpectedly, it wasn’t awkward for everyone. Seow, an F45 trainer, even said that it was an amazing first experience.
“The trainer gave very good cues and ensured that we all did each move with good form,” he adds.
“The teacher’s knowledge gave us the confidence to attempt some unfamiliar poses. It was tough. My T-shirt was soaking wet when class was over,” Teh spoke of his experience. So will we be seeing these men back at Ballet Body anytime soon?
“Definitely. The beginner session was already a challenge. That will be my motivation to return and hopefully take my ballet fitness to the next level,” said freelance calisthenics trainer, Lee.
“Sure, if it helps me to be fitter, stronger and more flexible. I’d also like to add that it’s not girly to be strong,” added Farhan.
Ballet Body is at 24A Pagoda Street, Singapore 059186. Visit www.balletbody.sg for more information