Crash Course: fitBallet is brings the intensity and strength of a bootcamp and mixes it with the grace and technique of ballet. You’ll do burpees, plié jumps, weighted arm sequences, push ups, killer core exercises, and more. Think of it as a functional fitness class sprinkled with key ballet concepts and movements. It’s a refreshing yin + yang approach that leaves you feeling strong and lean. Visit the fitBallet website to book a class or group session.[line] [left]where: anywhere!
bring: water, towel
perks: one-on-one training
sweat score: 8 out of 10[/left][right]wear: activewear, no shoes if inside
cost: introductory workout $39 [/right][line]
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I signed up for a fitBallet session. It seems like I’ve done a zillion different kinds of barre classes, all of them just a tad bit different than the rest. They each have their signature quirks but to be honest, in the end, most barre classes are the same. Lift. Tuck. Tuck. Lift higher. Shake. Repeat.
Except fitBallet is not a barre class. But it isn’t a traditional ballet class either. So what the heck is it?
The best way I can describe the experience is a mashup between a functional fitness bootcamp and a beginner ballet workout. Prepare for burpees and arabesques, planks and pliés, crunches and relevés. Oh yes. It’s like a seriously sweaty bootcamp with a ballerina twist.
fitBallet is the brainchild of Julie Walsh, a Harvard law graduate turned fitness entrepreneur (go girl!). She loved the concepts behind CrossFit and high-intentsity training but missed the grace and toning that comes from dance. So – not seeing any options out there that combined the two – she decided to create something herself. Are you inspired yet? I mean, talk about getting it done.
Julie’s fitBallet is not a traditional group fitness class (at least, not yet). You can book private hour-long sessions, small group sessions with friends, or sign up for live-streaming distance training for those of you not in the New York City area. The workout itself doesn’t require a ton of space, so it can be done almost anywhere: your apartment, a local park, or a nearby gym.
Julie and I chose to meet at a Breather room in the Flatiron neighborhood. Breather offers a variety of beautiful rental spaces located throughout the city. They’re perfect for meetings, study sessions, photo shoots, or (in this case) a quick private workout. The room we rented even came complete with a yoga mat, large mirror, and phone charger. Perfect!
We started off with a warmup circuit consisting of a few planks, crunches, leg lifts, and plies. Julie and I were able to keep a conversation going – but not for long. The second circuit was when things got real: burpees, side plank dips, bicycle crunches, and plie jumps. Three times through. I was huffing and puffing and the only words I could manage to sputter out between sets were: “this. is. a. lot. harder. than. I. expected.”
And it was, a whole lot harder than I expected. In the best way possible. I thought I was walking into a light “ballet inspired” workout full of micro movements and stretching. Instead, I was doing deep plie squats in second position (helloooo inner thighs), mountain climbers, push ups, and weighted swan-arm movements. That’s not the technical ballet term, but that’s what I remember them as. The concept of doing graceful, fluid movements with weights was definitely new to me.
Like her workout, Julie was an unexpected mix of tough and sweet. She was incredibly easy to talk to and full of positive, motivational energy. I felt like we had known each other for years and was immediately at ease with her professionalism and detailed approach to the workout. She was constantly checking in on my cranky knee, which is not a huge fan of ballet moves, and at the same kept me honest by reminding me that I actually had ten more reps (not three). Oops. Wishful thinking.
I left the workout feeling strong and uplifted. The mix of cardio and strength with a constant focus on posture and form was a refreshing change from my usual high intensity workouts. I loved the mix of power and grace – a great tribute to making sure there’s always some yin with your yang. I would absolutely recommend checking out fitBallet. It is an effective and tough workout built with a lot of love, and Julie is a delight to work with.
Thank you for inviting me to try out your class, fitBallet!
If you give it a shot, be sure to leave a comment below and let us know how it went!
Editor’s note: the black and white photos above are courtesy of fitBallet.