Category Archives: Dance & Fitness

Learn about dance and fitness classes at Ballet Austin through the Butler Center for Dance and Fitness

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10 Things You May Not Know About Pilates

By Vicki Parsons, Butler Center for Dance & Fitness Director

I am a fan of anything that helps a person live an active and healthy lifestyle. But Pilates is especially beneficial. The problem is that there are still plenty of myths and misconceptions floating around about Pilates that tend to get in the way of giving it a try. While I can’t dispel all of those myths – and am a firm believer that you just have to give it a try to be convinced – here are a few things that you might not have known.

1. Pilates is not just a fad of the rich and famous.

Pilates has been around for almost a century. Yes. Longer than sliced bread! While plenty of celebrities, dancers, and fitness gurus practice Pilates, it is now more popular than ever as one of the best foundational exercises for anyone.

Ballet-Austin-Pilates

2. Over 10 million Americans practice Pilates.

That’s a huge number and it’s still growing. As the benefits of Pilates become known, more and more Americans are trying it for themselves.

3. Pilates was designed by Joseph Pilates.Joseph-Pilates

Joseph Pilates was a German-born self-defense instructor at Scotland Yard in England. During World War I, he was detained as an “enemy alien” with other German nationals. It was during his time in war camps that Pilates refined his ideas by rigging springs to hospital beds, enabling bedridden patients to exercise against resistance and rehabilitate.

4. Pilates is done on a reformer but can be adapted for mat work.

Joseph Pilates loved to tinker with equipment and machinery, which led to the design of the Pilates reformer we have today. As far as the dreaded magic circle, Joseph made the original “magic circle” from the steel bands around beer kegs.

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5. Crunches are overrated.

Pilates gets to the core of the matter. It gives you a stronger core without the crunch! When the core is strengthened, the entire body changes; improved posture, balance, strength, and flexibility. Slouching is corrected, effects of sitting can be reversed, back pain is alleviated, and more. Pilates benefits both men and women of all ages and skill levels.

6. Rodeo cowboys do Pilates.

(Photo Credit Baker County Tourism via CC)

(Photo Credit Baker County Tourism via CC)

Pilates is all about the core and rodeo cowboys need a strong center of balance for riding bulls and bucking broncos! Because the Pilates method is renowned for its benefits in improving flexibility, strength, balance and body awareness, athletes from every sport find it the perfect foundation for their training.

7. One hour of Pilates burns calories all day long.

Pilates is all about resistance exercises. Resistance training is scientifically proven to create lean muscle and speed up metabolism to burn calories all day long. Cardio exercise is great; but as soon as you get off the stationary bike or treadmill, you stop burning calories. With Pilates, the second you finish your workout, you start burning calories.

8. Ballet Austin’s state-of-the-art Pilates Center is doubling in size.

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Pilates reformers inside the newly renovated Ballet Austin Center.

Upon completion in August, Ballet Austin’s Pilates Center will be 1500 square feet, equipped with 12 Balanced Body reformers, as well as Balanced Body Chairs, Barrels and Towers to accommodate private and group appointments at all levels.

9. Ballet Austin’s Pilates Center has 8 Certified Instructors.

Under the direction of Pilates Program Director Vlada Sheber, we have 8 Certified Pilates Instructors. They are trained, caring, and passionate about their Pilates practice. And they will push you to your best.

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Ballet Austin Pilates Program Director Vlada Sheber working with a client.

10. It’s easy and affordable.

With new client packages and offers available year round it’s always a good time to try. Start with a private session or bring a friend to a group class.

 

Mommy + Baby Fit at Ballet Austin

Rarely do we bring you non-performance related news from Ballet Austin, but this one was just too good to pass up.

Brittany Harpole, one of our amazing BCS and Certified Pilates instructors – and recent new mom – is teaching a “Mommy and Baby Fit” workshop beginning this month.

ballet austin dance and fitness

The workshop offers flexible options for new moms of all fitness levels with children ages 10 – 18 months.

For a sneak peek, check out the video below.

For full details and to enroll visit balletaustin.org.

A Look Back at Come Dance! 2011

A few weeks ago, we hosted our 4th annual Come Dance! celebration. Over 1,000 people streamed through our doors that Sunday to participate in over 18 different FREE dance classes, including 7 new ones. The day offered something for everybody – from West African Dance to Ballet. Check out a few snapshots from the day below, and make sure to check out our BCS Drop-In Class Schedule to see when you can try out a few classes on your own.

West African DanceOur NEW! West African Dance, taught by instructor Jean-Claude Lessou.

BalletBallet, taught by Company Dancer & BCS Instructor Orlando Canova.

Our NEW! Turbo-Kick (cool down phase), taught by our certified instructor Brittany Harpole.

TapOur NEW! Rhythm Tap, taught by instructor Tony Merriwether.

JazzJazz Funk, taught by instructor Kathryn Waggoner.

A big thank you to everyone who attended! We hope to see you again soon… For more information on Drop-in Classes and Courses (which start this week!) in the Butler Community School, please visit our website.

Videodance:Beyonce | Wed. at the BCS

If you loved Beyoncé at the 2011 Video Music Awards, and if you want to have fun learning the choreography of Beyoncé’s Run the World (Girls), then you won’t want to miss Videodance: Beyoncé!

Every Wednesday from 7:15 – 8:30, instructor Kody Jauron will offer a few weeks of choreography focusing on one song of one artist; artists such as Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and Britney Spears.

Each class will start with a short warm-up and then move into a fun and fast-paced class learning choreography from the latest and hottest music video hits. Attend once or come every week. Videodance is open to all levels.

To sign up for classes, please visit the Butler Community School page.

Have you Registered?

Note: This is our summer intern’s last editorial post. After hearing she was a yoga buff, we signed her up for our weekly Yoga Form and Flow course offered on Monday nights. See what she had to say about taking yoga in a ballet studio…

One of my favorite perks (among many) of interning at Ballet Austin this summer was the opportunity to enroll in their Yoga Flow and Form course. I’ve always been a huge fan of yoga but only a dedicated practitioner for just over a year. This course was perfect for me — it began at a slower pace, offering plenty of pose modifications. The instructor was wonderfully patient and made sure to pay special attention to each student in the class. Everyone practices yoga at a different level, and she was considerate of our abilities and catered the course to each of our needs. Set to candlelight and low music, it was an incredibly relaxing and soothing hour.

And that was only the first week. This six-week yoga course functions as an introductory course to yoga, steadily advancing the poses and practice each week as the attendees grow increasingly strong and confident. It was a thrill to feel my body grow stronger with each week, and by the sixth week be able to complete the class without any pose modifications.

I really enjoyed the structure of the class and how it steadily advanced my practice each week. Most yoga studios I’ve been to treat each individual class as an all-inclusive lesson, not really considering the different skill levels of the practitioners or looking to advance their practice in a lasting way. Ballet Austin’s Yoga Flow and Form transformed my yoga practice indefinitely because it took the time to allow my body to grow steadily over the six-week period. As a serious yoga practitioner, I highly recommend this course to anyone looking to get into yoga. It was wonderfully fun, relaxing, and made me feel fantastic after each class.

My summer internship at Ballet Austin has ended now, and I’ve moved from Austin to Los Angeles, and so far finding a great yoga studio has been tough!  I’ll miss Ballet Austin dearly, and I hope you Austinites take advantage of Flow and Form while you still can!

Sign up for our Yoga Form & Flow course by August 26 and receive $5 off your purchase. More details on the Ballet Austin website.

National Dance Day – A Recap

Thanks to everyone who came to Ballet Austin this past Saturday and donated their time, money and dancing moves for National Dance Day! With your help and participation, we were able to raise over $1,000 for our scholarship program. Included in the crowd was CultureMap Austin’s Michael Graupmann who, despite not donning his dance shoes, reported and recorded the event. Check out Michael’s article on National Dance Day, complete with video of the lively Kathryn Waggoner.

Too busy to make it out this past weekend? Worry not.

At the end of this month, we are hosting our own annual day of dance, Come Dance! 2011, on Aug. 28 and EVERY class is FREE. Come help us celebrate  our fourth anniversary in the Butler Dance Education Center. Check out the link above for more details!

National Dance Day – THIS SATURDAY!

That’s right everyone, National Dance Day is THIS Saturday – and we want to see you! Come support Ballet Austin’s scholarship program with $5 classes, while helping us celebrate National Dance Day, a nation-wide celebration organized by everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure… So You Think You Can Dance.

Here at Ballet Austin headquarters, we’ll be offering all of our regularly scheduled classes in addition to three classes that will focus solely on teaching the routines created by SYTYCD celebrity choreographers Mary Murphy, Robin Antin and NappyTabs.

More details on the classes and choreography videos below – you know, just in case you want to brush up on your moves before the big day.

Ballet Austin’s Featured “National Dance Day” Classes:

Beginner | 10 – 10:45am

Intermediate | 1:45 – 2:45pm
Ballet Austin Instructor: Kathryn Waggoner

Beginning at the age of 5, Kathryn Waggoner has an extensive background in dance. She was captain of her high school dance team and continued her dance and musical theater education at Baylor University. With 16 years of dance experience behind her, she has had the opportunity to train at the finest dance studios under some of the best dancers and choreographers in the business including: Wade Robson, Tyce Diorio, Shane Sparks, Mia Michaels, Brian Friedman, Gil Duldualo, Cris Judd, Laurieann Gibson, and Dave Scott. In the summer of 2009, Kathryn was chosen to be an intern at the Pulse On Tour dance convention in Los Angeles, and additionally had the opportunity to participate in a summer intensive dance program at the legendary Millennium Dance Complex. Kathryn is excited to be a part of Ballet Austin’s Butler Community School this season.

Master | 3 – 4pm
Ballet Austin Instructors: Kathryn Waggoner and Boo Ruiz

Boo Ruiz has more than 20 years of dance training in a variety of mediums. She was in the pre-professional program at Ballet Austin from 1996-1999 where she was fortunate enough to study under Mr. Stephen Mills. She has trained in jazz, hip-hop, tap, lyrical, ballroom, and contemporary dance all over the country in studios such as The EDGE PAC (West Hollywood, CA), The PAC Annex (Van Nuys, CA), Broadway Dance Center (NYC, NY), and Steps (NYC,NY). Boo was a competitive dancer from 1992-2003. In 2003 she was ranked as the number three competitive soloist in the nation (National Dance Finals in Orlando, Florida). Boo continues to dance and audition all over the United States and Canada. Boo began choreographing and teaching at the professional level in 2001.

As a dancer Boo has experienced first hand the benefits of Pilates, not only for rehabilitation purposes, but also for maintenance and fine tuning, and is a Certified Pilates Fitness instructor. She has studied under Pilates Program Director Vlada Sheber since 2000. Her understanding of the human body, the knowledge lent from Vlada, and countless hours on the equipment provide dynamic tools that Boo utilizes to create an independent program for each client. Her focus is on form, proper alignment of the body, and helping her clients trust their bodies so that they achieve their personal goals and reach their fullest potential. “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential” – Winston Churchill

 

For more information, check out our website here.

We hope to see you on July 30th!

Come Cool Down at “Center Stage”

If you’re reading this, you’ve managed to survived the 100+ degree temperatures July has hit us with every single day this month.  Congratulations!

Because we know just how hard it is to enjoy just about anything in this oven-like heat, Ballet Austin and Austin Film Festival are teaming up one last time this Sunday to bring you the final film in our Dance Film Series, “Center Stage”.  Cinephiles and dancers alike won’t want to miss this event!  Your $10 admission to the film not only guarantees you a seat in our perfectly air-conditioned AustinVentures StudioTheater, but it also gets you a spot on the dance floor in our Ballet class, taught by Ballet Austin Company member Chris Swaim.  What could be better than a movie AND a chance to get some exercise away from the glaring rays of the Texas sun?  Scroll down for more information on “Center Stage”, the Ballet class, Sunday’s instructor Chris Swaim and an article about the event published in the Austin Post.

Center Stage (2000)
For most of her young adult life, Jody Sawyer has dreamed of becoming one of American Ballet Company’s “perfect little ballerinas” and now she is going to get her shot. The only problem is many others share that same dream and she find herself competing with them all. Center Stage allowed audiences to enter the world of Ballet and understand the rigors and stress that these young adults must endure to be successful while at the same time managing the burden and complications of coming into their own.

Our Ballet class introduces basic ballet vocabulary and steps. If you have always wanted to learn ballet, or if you took ballet as a child years ago, this is a great class. Classes are set to live accompaniment. Much of the class includes barre work with an introduction to dancing center floor.




Christopher Swaim, BCS Instructor and Company member,
is originally from Bryant, AR, where he began his training with Kirt and Linda Hathaway at the Academy of Ballet Arkansas. After graduating with distinction from the University of Oklahoma with a B.F.A. in Ballet Pedagogy, he joined Ballet Austin II in 2004 before joining Ballet Austin in 2006. Mr. Swaim has danced principal roles in The Sleeping BeautyCoppeliaThe Nutcracker, and Valse Fantasie, and has been featured in works by George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, Stephen Mills, Thaddeus Davis, Amy Seiwert, James Clouser, Sidra Bell, Miguel Terekhov, Septime Webre, Nelly Van Bommel, Gina Patterson, Nicolo Fonte, and Ben Stevenson. He has also performed at the 2010 San Francisco International Arts Festival as a guest with Amy Seiwert’s company im’ij-re and with The Suzanne Farrell Ballet at the Kennedy Center in 2008. Mr. Swaim teaches in the Butler Community School and across Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

For more info, please view our Ballet Austin Dance Film Series page.

To purchase tickets, please go here.

 

Hula Your Heart Out at Ballet Austin

Is it just me, or is the whole world vacationing in Hawaii this summer? Maybe it’s because the islands have been in the news as the Obama family’s favorite destination or the travel deals are too good to resist, but everyone seems to be getting the aloha fever. So what about the rest of us who long for the island breezes but don’t have a trip to the Big Island scheduled?  Don’t fret: Ballet Austin has you covered.

Did you know that we offer Hula drop-in classes and Hula courses led by experienced dancers?  Oahu native and Community Education Director Pei-San Brown holds the rank of Kumu Hula (Hula Master) and was honored to compete in the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival, the world’s most prestigious hula competition. Honolulu native and Ballet Austin Hula Instructor Vivian Kaw also competed in the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival and has studied the art form for a greater part of her life.

Pei-San and Vivian are leading several upcoming opportunities for hula enthusiasts at Ballet Austin:

  • Come Dance! 2011 (Sunday, August 28) – This FREE day of dance at Ballet Austin is the perfect opportunity to try hula on for size, with two hula classes scheduled during the day. For more information, visit our Come Dance! 2011 page.
  • Beginning Hula – This popular Monday evening course is currently filled to capacity so if you’d like to take the plunge, sign up now for the fall course beginning in September. Call the Butler Community School at 512.476.9051.
  • Continuing Hula – There are currently spots available in this course taught by Vivian on Wednesday evenings at 7 pm. Participants should have previous hula experience under their belts for this next level. Visit the Butler Community School page for more details.
  • Intermediate Hula (Teen/Adults) – This Tuesday evening class at 7 pm is also for those who have hula experience. It’s a drop-in class, so visit the class registration page.

Let’s make it a date: stop by, say aloha, and join me for some hula, Austin!

 

National Dance Day 2011

Are you a So You Think You Can Dance fan? If so, you’re probably aware by now that the second annual National Dance Day is rapidly approaching. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, mark your calendars because on July 30th, people around the country will strap on their dancing shoes and learn choreography created by three celebrity choreographers – Mary Murphy, Robin Antin and the duo behind NappyTabs.

Ballet Austin is incredibly excited to be the local venue and host for National Dance Day. On that Saturday, we will still be offering all of our regularly scheduled classes but will ALSO offer three event-specific classes (broken down by skill level), where your favorite BA instructors teach the choreography created for this national celebration. All ages and skill levels are welcome, and a $5 minimum (per class) tax-deductible donation is all that’s asked for admission for all classes. You don’t even need to worry about your class card. Just check out the schedule for that day, show up at the BCS, give your donation and start dancing!

Ballet Austin’s Featured “National Dance Day” Classes:

Beginner | 10 – 10:45am
Ballet Austin Instructor: Tina-Michelle Pittsley

Intermediate | 1:45 – 2:45pm
Ballet Austin Instructor: Kathryn Waggoner

Master | 3 – 4pm
Ballet Austin Instructors: Kathryn Waggoner and Boo Ruiz

For more information and to see the other choreography videos, check out our website here.

We hope to see you on July 30th!