In recent years, ballet has found its way into the vast world of workout fads. There was Yoga Booty Ballet (what does that even mean?) from Beach Body and the official New York City Ballet Workout DVD. After Natalie Portman starred in “Black Swan,” thousands of women wanted to know how she transformed her body into that of a believable ballerina, seeking toned limbs and strong abdominal muscles; if that wasn’t enough they wanted grace, poise and posture, too. This semester dance instructor Karen McShane-Hellenbrand will be teaching Zena Rommett Floor Barre at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
McShane-Hellenbrand became introduced to various versions of the Zena Rommett Floor Barre technique as she took modern dance courses throughout the years. This past summer she traveled to New York City in order to become certified in the technique, trademarked as Floor-Barre. The physical practice of Floor-Barre is unique because according to its website it is meant to aid “current and future generations of dancers, athletes, the injured, elderly and everyone desiring the alignment and strengthening health benefits of this gentle, yet highly effective Technique.” The DVD series shows the multiplicity of foci – from “professional dancers” to “young dancers” and “active elders.” While the exercises are challenging, they should be accessible to the larger population.
McShane-Hellenrand’s one credit course, “Zena Rommett Floor Barre,” takes place on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:20 to 6:10 PM in studio 349. The first class begins tomorrow night (January 23, 2013).