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one of my physical goals for 2010 is to be able to consistently complete the entire Element: Ballet Conditioning workout DVD at least 3x/wk by my wedding anniversary (27 May). this is a HUGE undertaking for me — anyone who thinks ballerinas are NOT highly conditioned athletes has never danced ballet!

I just did the DVD workout (only partially, more on that in a minute) for the first time this morning, and I’m shocked and humbled to find just how out of condition I really am. I had to skip through several sections of the workout (I didn’t just let it run b/c I didn’t want my warmed-up muscles to cool down), plus I had to modify most of the major movements (grand plié, scissor stretches, etc.) to boot. however, having completed ~15 mins of a ~45 min workout on the first attempt isn’t too shabby, and I know this workout is something I’ll do again and again and again: as I’ve been going through my day I’m catching myself standing taller, sitting perfectly upright, even moving en tendu (in basic pointed-toe stretches) and en relevé (on tiptoe) to do simple things like put something away in a cupboard. this all comes very naturally to me, and I’m already itching to do the workout again today, even tho’ I’m still feeling stretched from my brief session this AM and I know the worst thing to do when starting ANY new fitness routine is to overdo it.

I first started taking ballet lessons when I was ~6 yrs old and I absolutely loved it: it was elegant and beautiful and made me feel like a princess. I realized this morning as I was experiencing ballet again for the first time in many years that the movements speak directly to my dominant Type 4 nature, being very structured and precise, with some of the movements being quite bold and others very simple.

contrast that w/the hip-hop workout DVD I also bought, thinking I would “mix it up a bit” so I wouldn’t get bored (sometimes my secondary Type 1, w/its randomness and love of novelty, needs to be indulged; I’ve discovered this is NOT one of those times) — apparently I don’t watch nearly enough Top 40 music videos (read “none” ;\ lol) as hip-hop steps are all very abrupt and angular and heavily layered, which is very Type 3 and just doesn’t resonate w/me AT ALL. on the contrary, I actually found myself very annoyed by the time I got to the end of just the step guide (I never even bothered w/the actual workout), and while I’m sure this type of dance workout is fantastic for Type 3s, it just doesn’t work for me as a Type 4.

it was a fascinating and useful insight for me to realize that, while the secondary Type 1 in me loves all of the myriad forms of physical expression that is dance, my dominant Type 4 nature is just completely at odds w/the movement of Type 3 dance steps. (just as an interesting aside, I didn’t have as much problem w/jazz dance back in high school, as the movements were both bouncy Type 1 and precise Type 4.) I have no doubt that I could learn hip-hop dance moves, eventually, and given LOTS of practice (probably accompanied by a significant degree of frustration); but since dance is something I’ve taken up again for myself, primarily for fitness and for fun, I think it makes a lot more sense to pick a dance form that comes to me more naturally: ballet. but what really cinched the decision for me was standing in first position w/my left hand resting lightly on my makeshift barre (a chair borrowed from the dining room) and my right arm curved in a graceful port de bras while I executed simple demi-pliés, it felt like finding myself. 🙂