After the ballet boom caused by the lithe figures of Nathalie Portman and Mila Kunis in Black swan, there has been an influx of ballet fitness classes available at various gyms and studios up and down the UK, much to our delight.
Ok so being a prima ballerina wannabe might go against the grain of the current girl rebellion trend, but hell, you gotta love a tutu. So forget core-strengthening barre-come-pilates classes, we wanted to pop on some pink ballet slippers and tread the boards of a real life ballet school. Sprung floors, piano, strict teacher, the lot.
Lo and behold the Central School of Ballet runs adult classes throughout the week in the evenings and on Sundays. At £9 (cash only) for an hour and a half’s worth of tuition, the lessons are more than worth the fee for the kudos of training in a genuine ballet school alone.
Walk through the doors of the ballet school, on Herbal Hill just off Clerkenwell Road, and you'll hear the tinkling of the pianos and muffled instructions of the teachers. Nip up to the changing rooms and there's student ballet skirts and well-worn pointe shoes hanging from coat hooks. Skip to the studio and you'll hear the faint thuds of split leap landings and lifts filtering through from the advanced classes above. Soak it up - it's one gosh darned beautiful place to be.
The Absolute Beginners Class is taught by David Kierce who trained at the Australian Ballet School. He has been a principal dancer in many companies including the Northern Ballet, and a ballet master for a number of years.
The class is made up of an hour at the barre, working through finding the perfect first position, to a tendue and battement fondu. Afterwards there's a move away from the barre to the centre of the room - time to put your balance to the test with the same positions and jumps from first and second. Trust us, you'll feel every inch the white swan (sort of).
David is at once enthusiastic and hilarious in his encouragement, but strict and informative in his criticism. If you manage to plié and rise to the piano music without him pausing beside you to alter your deportment, you've pretty much made it in life. The workout is gentle but intense and leaving the studio glistening with perspiration makes you feel like the perfectly devout ballerina. Oh and needless to say, shopping for ballet shoes is an absolute treat!
Find out more about timetables and adult classes at the Central School of Ballet here.