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Becoming a Swan with Ballet Beautiful

"Mary Helen's technique is based on the motions that ballerinas use all day long. It allows anyone to achieve the long, toned physique of a dancer."
- Natalie Portman, forward to Ballet Beautiful, Transform your body and gain the strength, grace and focus of a ballet dancer.

Ballet Beautiful provides techniques to build and maintain the beauty, strength and grace of a ballerina.
Yelena Yemchuk Courtesy of Ballet Beautiful
Mary Helen Bowers was invited to join the New York City Ballet at 16. Bowers created Ballet Beautiful.
Yelena Yemchuk Courtesy of Ballet Beautiful

Oscar winning actress Natalie Portman transformed her physique into the silhouette of a Prima Ballerina for her performance in Black Swan. Her graceful moves on screen looked like she had been dancing professionally her whole life. When interviewed about how she prepared for the role, Portman explained how her routine gave her the long lean body shape of a ballet dancer without the years of rigorous bar exercises. Portman is not the one who accomplished this. Thanks to Mary Helen Bowers and Ballet Beautiful, many women are shape shifting into a ballet body. How does it work? Bowers, a professional ballerina, explains how in this interview.

Ballet Beautiful certainly has a lot of fans and the buzz over the workout has grown substantially over the past few years. For those who have never heard of it, could you please give us the history of the method and how it was developed?

Ballet Beautiful is a fitness method inspired by ballet. I have a background as a professional ballerina and danced for 10 years with New York City Ballet. Every movement, exercise and stretch in Ballet Beautiful has been designed to target and sculpt sleek ballet muscles and give women without dance experience the toned and powerful physique of a ballerina through exercise.

What exactly are the mechanics of Ballet Beautiful that makes it so effective in sculpting a person’s physique? Is there a particular eating plan that you recommend to clients for maximum results?

With Ballet Beautiful, we create the classic ballet dancer's lean physique by focusing on specific "ballet muscles" in the inner thigh, inside and back of the legs, butt, lower abs and center while building strength, muscle tone and beautiful posture in the upper body. Ballerinas have a very specific body shape because we work and use muscles that are not targeted in other fitness programs and sports. There's a reason why soccer players, swimmers and dancers all have very different physiques. It's all about the way that you shape and train the muscles!

When it comes to nutrition, the Ballet Beautiful lifestyle and approach is a very balanced and healthy one. I'm a big believer in eating lots of whole grains, fruits, veggies, healthy fats and lean, high quality proteins. It's not about dieting or deprivation, it's about treating your body with love. My book, Ballet Beautiful, has detailed eating plans, shopping lists and more about how to get the most out of your workout with a healthy diet.

How is Ballet Beautiful different from the Lotte Burke Method, Physique 57, or The Bar Method? Is it more similar to the New York City Ballet Workout that was really popular about a decade ago?

Ballet Beautiful is based on the tenets of classical ballet training and my experience as a professional ballerina with one of the top companies in the world. Many barre type workouts were created by business women and men without professional dance experience. These programs come from a completely different approach to shaping the body. For example in Ballet Beautiful we never target the quads. It's a huge muscle that develops very quickly and can lead to bulk and shortened lines of the legs. In ballet everything comes from the inside and back of the legs and thighs, and the Ballet Beautiful program mimics this training through targeted and thoughtful exercises and stretches.

Ballet Beautiful was born from my own personal backstage workout that I developed to keep my body in top form while dancing with New York City Ballet and has evolved from there. Our clients love how challenging and targeted it is!

Since not everyone lives near a studio you have DVDs and the Custom Workout which you recently announced. Do you have any tips for those who are unable to attend a live class on how to make sure they have the right form when following the movements?

Thousands of women around the world use our DVDs and online Custom Workout every day. It's an incredible way to sculpt and shape the body from the privacy and comfort of your home, hotel, or wherever you might be! Our Custom Workout is a great option for our on-the-go members that are looking for personalized training with 24-7 global access. You can find all of the details on our website,

Congratulations on the launch of your new Custom Workout. How customized is it and how is it designed to target specific muscles group for each person who subscribes to it?

Thank you! The Custom Workout is designed to help our members get the most out of Ballet Beautiful. We custom build weekly workouts for each member based on their fitness goals and availability. The program was created to be very flexible so members can update their schedules as they go. Life is busy, we want to help make every moment counts!

The Custom Workout has a fat burner option for losing weight, a killer full body workout and more targeted programs that focus on trouble areas like the butt, abs and arms. It's all about our members needs and goals! With two new workouts each month as well as unlimited access to our exclusive Streaming Library, the Custom Workout is designed to grow and evolve with our members.

Is the Custom Workout an exercise program that anyone can do if they follow a class matched to their skill level? Or is it recommended that people who have attended a few live classes subscribed to the Custom Workout?

Many of our live class and private clients subscribe to the Custom Workout as a supplement for times when they are traveling or cannot connect to a live, online workout. But the Custom Workout stands alone. It's an incredible program for getting the most out of Ballet Beautiful and offers a great structure for anyone new to the workout.

The Custom Workout membership is a great deal. What exactly is included in the price? And is there any special home equipment that a person should have in order to do the routines correctly?

Our Custom Workout membership is a great value at $39.99/mo. It includes unlimited access to our entire Streaming Library, two new workouts each month plus personalized weekly workout schedules for each member.

Online workouts by subscription have become very popular recently with people enjoying the convenience of being able to exercise at home on their own time. Is there anything unique about the Custom Workout that sets it apart from other subscription-based online workouts available on the market?

Our Custom Workout is the first to offer really personalized training and custom scheduling at such an affordable price. It's a terrific and affordable alternative to our private training and includes a huge amount of exclusive new content to keep things fun and fresh! Our members love how easy it is to access and how it changes all the time.

How come people who never had ballet training can still do the Ballet Beautiful Method and benefit from regular practice?

The Ballet Beautiful workout method is built to give anyone a ballet dancer's strong, elegant physique in just a few hours a week. The goal isn't to turn people into professional ballerinas or teach actual ballet, but to provide a workout that is effective, empowering and makes you look and feel beautiful, both inside & out.

What is it like to have private training with Ballet Beautiful? How is it paced for the client’s unique needs to yield the best results? Do you have any testimonials from those who bodies were transformed by the method that really stand out in your mind?

Private training is always really fun because everything is built around each client’s personal goals and needs. We have thousands of testimonials from women around the world who have seen incredible changes in their bodies and their lives from using our program. One of my personal favorites is from the introduction that Natalie Portman wrote for my book. We trained together for over a year to prepare her for her vigorous role in Black Swan.

To learn more about Ballet Beautiful, follow them on:

Twitter: @balletbeautiful

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