Embracing My Inner Ballerina // The Extension Method
It's a little cliché, I know, but I'm a firm believer that fitness is an essential part of any lifestyle. I speak from experience when I say that even during the times when it feels as though you don't have time or it's the absolute last thing you want to do, it's important to take the time to get up and move, whatever that means for you.
And in my opinion, if you can embrace your inner ballerina at the same time, even better.
I first found The Extension Method through Class Pass last spring, and immediately fell in love with the studio. The space itself is beautiful. Open, airy and whitewashed, with chandeliers offsetting the industrial tone of the room, natural light streaming in through the skylights and a garage-style door that opens during the warmer months letting in a gentle breeze and allowing the curtains to dance in the wind.
And then there are the classes themselves. Boasting a wide range of offerings from barre classes to mat pilates to dance classes themselves, The Extension Method encompasses all aspects of ballet fitness, whether you're looking to sweat it out or slowly sculpt. What I love the most about the studio is that each class complements the others while also providing variety, meaning that once you start to feel more confident in the ballet-inspired movements and language in one class, you start to improve in the others as well.
When it comes to studios, what I've found in the past is that I have a hard time committing to only one at a time, tiring quickly of the same few classes and craving more variety. With The Extension Method though, I find the variety is perfect for me, and when I mix it in with running or biking on my own, it provides the perfect balance in my schedule. I'm also partial to the 12:30 pm classes, with each day of the week offering a different class (again - variety!), and the timing often working perfectly with my schedule and splitting up my schedule so I'm guaranteed to get out at least once during the day.
In an ideal week, here's a mix of my favourite classes:
ALLEGRO BALLET BOOT CAMP
‘Allegro’ (from the musical & ballet terminology)- rather quick; meaning brisk, lively. A term applied to all bright, fast, or brisk movements.
f you're looking for something high energy that'll get you moving and make you sweat, this is the class for you. A word of warning though, given the fast pace, it can take a little while to pick up the steps, so go into it with an open mind and a "dance like nobody's watching" attitude. I found that it took me a few classes to actually feel like I knew what I was doing, but this class is fun and dynamic and the perfect full body workout. Oh, and another thing I forgot to mention - the playlists are always great and the music is loud, so you'll find yourself easily getting lost in the music.
DÉVELOPPÉ BALLET SCULPT
‘Développé’ (from the ballet terminology)-”developed,” or “unfolded” with control; in ballet, a smooth, gradual unfolding of the leg.
This was the first class I tried at The Extension Method, and it remains one of my favourites. You know how you always hear about the coveted long and lean muscle tone of ballet dancers? This is the class to help you develop that. It's conducted at a slower pace, and focuses on controlled movements that bring attention to alignment, correct posture and controlled muscular endurance. Don't be fooled though, with free weights and resistance bands, this class is still a challenge, and the perfect complement to the ballet boot camp.
‘Barre’ (from the ballet terminology)- A barre is a stationary handrail that is used during ballet warmup exercises. The term also refers to the exercises that are performed at the barre, as well as that part of a ballet class that incorporates barre exercises.
More of a traditional barre class, this one takes place at the barre, often with a weight in hand, and develops balance and strength while focusing on targeted areas. A full body workout, I find this class to be a good foundational one, allowing me to focus on my technique, which helps in the other classes as well.
ABSOLUTE BEGINNER BALLET
I haven't had the opportunity to take this class as much as I'd like, but if you're looking for a truly beginner experience, this is the perfect first step to take. It gives you the opportunity to learn the vocabulary and gives you a foundation in ballet, which of course also helps in the other classes as well.