In their steps

March 4, 2008

Adult ballet offers a variety of fitness benefits

March 4, 2008
San Diego Union Tribune

Katherine Cordova approached a ballet barre for the first time when her younger daughter, an avid dancer, left home. œShe made me take a class to give me something to concentrate on when she left, Cordova says.

Three years later, the lithe, energetic Cordova goes to five ballet classes a week. œI’m in better shape than I’ve ever been in, she says.


Cordova, who dances at Stage 7 in North Park, also enjoys the beauty of ballet as an art form. As Stage 7 director Kathryn Irey puts it, œThere’s something intrinsically satisfying about exercise that has an artistic lens.

Along with aesthetic rewards, adult ballet offers a range of fitness benefits, say Irey and other teachers who offer classes for adults.

Ballet training improves flexibility, tone, balance, coordination and posture, says Michelle Noblejas-Bartolomei of Music and the Mirror Ballet Center West in Mission Hills. œOne student went to her doctor, and she’d gained three-quarters of an inch in height by the improvement in her posture and the way she carried herself.


At the intermediate level, students get an aerobic workout, Steven Wistrich of City Ballet says. œThey do a fair amount of jumping. When they leave class, they’ve worked up a good sweat, and they’re breathing pretty hard.

œA lot of students tell me it keeps their minds sharp, Wistrich adds. That goes along with recent research on the cognitive benefits of dance.


Absolute beginners: Adult ballet attracts many people who danced as children, but there’s plenty of room for neophytes. A number of studios offer pre-beginner classes, such as Irey’s œBonehead Ballet. Irey begins each Bonehead class by drawing students’ awareness to their wrists, for instance, or their upper backs. The idea is to œfind alienated body parts and to integrate the body as a whole.

Belly up to the barre: Don’t worry that you’ll be expected to leap across the floor like Baryshnikov. Most of a beginning class is spent at the barre. œThat’s where the foundations for the center work are learned, Noblejas-Bartolomei says. The barre helps you balance as you shift your weight to one leg, freeing the other leg to trace a pattern on the floor or in the air.

No tutus required: Ordinary workout clothes are fine, though you’ll want to wear something form-fitting, so the teacher can see what you’re doing. For footwear, Irey’s Bonehead class is done in socks the wilder, the better. Other classes request ballet slippers, available for $12 and up online; you may want to spend a little more at a dance store to assure the fit of your first pair.

Holiday Hours

December 21, 2007

Ballet classes will be canceled on Dec 24th & 25th as well as Dec 31st & Jan 1st.

Other class schedules vary, so be sure to check with your instructor.

Pas de Deux Lab

June 29, 2007

Thursday July 5th
Wednesday, July 11th
Wednesday, July 18th
Wednesday, July 25th


A ballet based warm-up will be given at 10:45am.

Stage 7™s new Pas de Deux Lab will explore principles of partnership from contemporary ballet backward toward classical ballet techniques.

Movement problems will explore the following:

  • How do we communicate with weight?
  • What perceptual skills support effective collaboration in dance?
  • What makes the space between us dynamic and useful?
  • How can we harness principles of leverage and displacement to share power?

Expect an experimental, experiential approach!

Expect to have fun!!

Class will be conducted with guidance and direction from Kathryn Irey.

Deep Learning 1

March 18, 1998

After the literacy-based dance curriculum documented in Deep learning 1, Darnall’s 3rd,4th, and 5th graders danced in many community events.