10 Unconventional Summer Workouts to Break the Yoga Monotony, Reviewed

Drumming. Trapeze. Belly dance. "Surfing" on an urban roof. I tried some outside-the-box fitness classes that feel more joyful than judgmental and torturous.

Health

Ballet Hispánico’s Ballet Fitness for Adults

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Ballet Hispánico’s Ballet Fitness for Adults
Photo: Paula Lobo/Ballet Hispánico (Getty Images)

Each season, New York’s Ballet Hispánico offers a full program of adult classes ranging from zumba and beginner salsa to beginner ballet, flamenco, and hip-hop. As a former athlete and dancer, my body has racked up far too many chronic aches and pains stemming from forced technique without proper care, so I tried out a BH-offered class that sounded like it might heal some of my existing ailments while also strengthening opposing muscles for future injury prevention.

The classes are hosted in the same facility that Ballet Hispánico’s professional company rehearses in, which is enchanting in its own right. But Victoria Vargas’ open-level ballet fitness class presented a warm and caring environment in which individuals of all abilities and levels go through a barre experience while laying on their back or side. Vargas’ 5th Position Method pushes students to focus on individual muscle groups, enabling you to understand what parts of the body should be engaged while properly executing any given ballet step. Sometimes, starting over is the best way to move forward, she tells me, while nudging me to tilt my head upwards so that I’m not blocking my airways. “It’s like when you’re a baby. You take your first breath, you cry, you move. Same in ballet, you breathe, you move.” Perfect.

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