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Heard The One About The Mum Standing At The Barre?

Posted by katherine vidgen on

As you may know from visiting Bea or reading my blogs, my daughters love ballet and so do I.  To get in on the act, I recently started attending adult ballet classes and I love it!  We’re all being told to exercise more and being able to choose how to stay fit is really important – not everyone likes the gym, or swimming, or full on high octane exercise classes!  Adult ballet is on the rise and I can see why.  

Deborah Nankivell is a professionally trained ballet dancer who wants to share her love of ballet with as many people as possible whilst creating a truly inclusive ballet community.  Regardless of your gender, age, shape and size, ability or lack of, Debbie will welcome you in to her variety of classes to introduce you to the world of port de bras, plies and pirouettes

Deborah’s adult ballet classes appeal to me because they actually teach you some ballet choreography, albeit simple moves, from famous ballets such as ‘Swan Lake’.  On top of that, I’m becoming fitter and stronger without realising as I perform the graceful movements.  Ballet is great for posture, (if you sit at a desk all day, it would really help your back alignment) and as a result, it strengthens your core ab muscles.  The stretching and elongating of limbs and muscles is bliss after a busy week at work and a fantastic way to aid the relaxation process – it feels as though stress is leaving my fingertips and toes as I, hopefully gracefully, unwind.  We work hard in classes - it isn’t just a bit of shoe shuffling! -  and I can feel myself becoming stronger, creating an elegant rather than a bulky, weight-lifting physique. 

The classes appeal to men and women of all ages – Deborah has a 72 year-old gentleman attending the classes three times a week alongside young twentysomethings and mums like me!  I really enjoy using my brain, learning some of the technical French terms and then being able to apply them when we go as a group to watch, in awe, the English National Ballet – it really is a sociable and friendly community.  


You don’t need any specific clothing to start, leggings, a T-shirt and bare feet will suffice but Deborah acknowledges a mindset change when participants dance in their first leotard or ballet shoes.  Then, dancers are transported to the world of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev or Darcey Bussell and stretch themselves, both mentally and physically, that little bit more.  It’s very liberating to don that leotard and start moving!  

Deborah also teaches fitness classes: ballet workout & Fitsteps.  Ballet workout classes are aimed at improving fitness whilst maintaining a ballet theme.  Back in the early 2000s, Deborah went to New York specifically to learn the NYC Ballet Workout before it became the phenomenon that it is today.  Participants work hard toning up through specific exercises and dance too, improving their fitness levels plus some ab work on mats and the like.

And then, Fitsteps is a fitness workout devised by ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ pros Natalie Lowe, Ian Waite and Strictly Come Dancing celebrity and Olympic British swimmer, Mark Foster.  These classes combine familiar dances such as the jive, Charleston and American smooth with fitness creating a really fun and energetic workout – great for any of you Strictly fans out there!  Again you don’t need any specific kit but at Bea we do stock some fitness apparel - footless leggings for example and I know Deborah likes this top!

So, if you feel like toning up ahead of Christmas indulgence and want to try something new, why not come to this new barre I’ve found?!  You’ll leave feeling invigorated and yet relaxed, having learnt some new moves & made new friends.  Pop into see me if you need more info or if you have any questions.

Katherine x



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