Chicks Get Fit: Ballet Meets Cardio Class at Extension Room
Last week, we announced that we chicks were going to start werkin' it out at a few different and unique workout spots around the city. And now, we're delivering. Our first #werkout spot? Extension Room. It's a ballet meets cardio meets top 40 pumping meets graceful movement and it was a doozy. It totally kicked our butts in the best way possible.
Want to know more about how it all went down?
Our first stop on this crazy fitness train is Extension Room in downtown Toronto. After getting lost during the taxi ride there we arrived at an older looking storefront and followed the stairs to the large and rustic studio space. The studio was so welcoming and bright; it was a lot less intimidating than a studio covered in weights and medicine balls (those things are scaryyyy). The Extension Room specializes in ballet-style fitness and offers many classes ranging from Barre 101 to Classical Ballet. And don’t worry, you do not need to be a dancer to take part in the classes.
After being extremely nervous to join the class, especially since I am as graceful as an elephant in a pack of gazelles, I put on my dancing shoes (aka bare feet) and got to exercising. The owner and instructor Jennifer Nichols was extremely supportive and encouraging throughout the class, though the ballet terminology was foreign I quickly learned to plié (bend my knees) and point my toes. I took part in the Allegro Ballet Boot camp, and after being to multiple boot camps this one is definitely unique. There was no classical music, but rather upbeat top 40 songs from artists like Bruno Mars and Macklemore.
Jennifer is clearly an athlete, she teaches multiple classes a week along with choreography and running a commercial dance company Hit and Run productions. This ballerina/fitness guru is non-stop. The full body workout was so different from a barre class. It focused on balance and challenged personal strength.
Needless to say by the end of the class I was red faced and sweating buckets, but I loved every second. Plus Alex and I got a few giggles out of it. Looking at yourself in the mirror dancing in a room with experienced ballet dancers can be pretty entertaining.
Have you ever seen the movie Center Stage? You probably haven't. It came out in 2000 and went fairly unnoticed. It's about a group of hardcore ballerinas just trying to make it in the American Ballet Academy. It wasn't the next Citizen Kane, if you know what I mean. Nevertheless, that movie was my jam in sixth grade. Since watching Center Stage way back when I wore bell bottoms and crushed velvet tops, I've always harboured a secret wish to be a primadonna ballerina. Sadly, my short, stumpy limbs have prevented this. However, when Extension Room, a fitness studio that combines classical ballet with cardio, offered to let myself and intern Christina come in to try out their space, I knew it was my chance to take the spotlight and let my inner Centre Stage ballerina come out.
Well, sort of. Because, as it turns out, even when mixed with cardio, my ballet skills are less than sub par. No matter, because Jennifer (the owner and instructor) is awesome and encouraging. Given that it was my first class, I found myself a little disoriented, especially when there were clearly some pros in the room. You do become more comfortable with the movements as you go on. It isn't an easy peasy class, you'll be moving and your heart rate will be majorly working, but it's fun and you'll get a giggle out of seeing your BFF plie. I loved that Jennifer focuses on using muscles and your own body's strength to complete movements. There aren't any gimmicks or silly movements, it's just a good ol' fashioned hard workout.
I was totally sore the next day (but in like that, I werrrkkked it way) and I had a great time busting a move! Extension Room is definitely a place to check out especially if you're harbouring a secret desire to be a ballerina.
Have you ever tried out anything like this? Would you?
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Looks spacious and sounds like a good workout... I don't see why I wouldn't try it!
I have been dancing since I was 5 in lyrical ballet and then moved into jazz, hip hop, and in my teens, ballroom and contemporary. Dancing is the best way to get fit, and keep your muscles strong and your metabolism healthy. I'm a petite girl, but I'm positive that because of my extensive training, my weight has been the same since I was 15 (that's practically 10 years ago). So I say : dance on!
Oh, I wish there was a studio near me. I absolutely love this idea!
Sounds like a really great idea...I would love to be a little more graceful and totally understood the elephant comment, so I would probably give it a try if it were available here in Ottawa.
This is a really cool concept - and I love their studio space!
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