Review: Peter Martins, New York City Ballet Workout

I rented this video around the same time that I started a "Ballet Body" class at my local gym. Also, I had been doing Callanetics, which is ballet-inspired. So I was really in the mood for something just like the New York City Ballet Workout.

Other reviewers on Amazon have mentioned the fact that the ballet terms are not explained (annoying, but you can deal with it), or that the narrator often does not give proper cues (actually very annoying, since he sometimes gives them, but at the wrong time, making it confusing even if you know what to do). Here are my problems with it:

1. I found the warmup horribly insufficient. That was not a warmup. That was barely a stretch.

2. The long and unskippable pauses between sections make sure that any warmup will be useless.

3. The beautiful, artsy dark background and shots make it really difficult sometimes to see what the dancers are doing. How about some bright lighting, like the kind they have in their actual studios?

4. There really aren't enough repetitions of each move. Not even the crunches. I'm sorry, sixteen crunches is not going to do anything for anyone's abs. I really wish they hadn't tried to fit in so many different moves and combinations, and had just chosen a few good ones and made the most of them -- and by that I mean explaining proper technique, showing modifications, and doing them enough times to get the muscles to work a little.

I guess that any exercise is better than no exercise at all, but I have a hard time imagining seeing any physical improvement from this DVD. My class at the gym has more repetitions and more of an aerobic component, which allows for more of a workout. Meanwhile, Callanetics (or yoga) is much better at building flexibility and muscle tone. I think the New York City Ballet Workout would be lovely for someone who wanted to see different ballet moves, and I loved the extras, but there are better dance-inspired workout videos.

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