The 10 Reasons We All Became Obsessed With Ballet in 2015

The 10 Reasons We All Became Obsessed With Ballet in 2015

Ballet is SO many things. It’s beautiful| it’s brutal| it’s technical| it’s grace epitomized. But for so long| classical ballet has been an art form that most of us could only admire from afar u2014 awestruck and wildly impressed| yes| but not entirely able to touch something that seemed pretty intangible. Part of the magic of dance is feeling as though you’re taken to another world when you watch it| but there are so many aspects about it u2014 athletically and otherwise u2014 that even nondancers can appreciate and apply to their own lives.

This year| we were able to do just that. As a lover of all things ballet| watching the classic art intertwine with modern culture and become more mainstream in 2015 has been so amazing to see. From music videos of Maddie Ziegler stealing the show with her jaw-dropping skills to social media accounts like the 11 Ways Ronda Rousey Completely Knocked Out 2015

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  • | Misty Copeland Became the First African American Principal Dancer in the ABT

    Misty Copeland is an all around ballerina badass. Despite experiencing harsh criticism about her unconventional looks early in her career (which she touched on in a powerful Under Armour ad)| she persevered| and it paid off MAJORLY this year when she became the first black principal dancer at the prestigous American Ballet Theatre. Principal dancer is the highest rank you can achieve in a company| so Misty’s achievement is definitely one that made history.

    | The Debut of Flesh and Bone

    Drama| drama| and dance. That’s what the much-anticipated ballet miniseries Flesh and Bone is chock-full of. The Starz show follows a ballerina’s path in a struggling company u2014 a path fuelled by her own fierce determination and torment over memories of a dark past that unfold throughout the season. The series explores the beauty and dysfunction behind the scenes in a fictional ballet world| and offers a solid balance of plot and actual dance. Series star Sarah Hay received a (very well-deserved!) Golden Globe nomination for her performance as dancer Claire Robbins.

    | The Ballerina Project Gave Us Inspiration

    The life of a dancer is undeniably gruelling AND beautiful| and both sides of dance can be seen in photos through an Instagram account that went viral| and features thousands of images that show ballerinas posing in real-life environments. The photos display the absolute and incredible athleticism ballerinas have| and provide beautiful fitness inspiration as well. The site now uses more high-quality digital images| and fans can pay to subscribe in order to see photos that aren’t available to the general public. The beautiful pictures are also available for purchase.

    | Stars Got In on the Ballet Action

    Ballet workouts designed for everyone u2014 not just experienced dancers u2014 blew up this year. Barre classes and workouts| and even ballerina-inspired diets| are a great way to build a strong| toned| healthy| and beautiful body u2014 and 2015 was the year people were swapping the gym for the barre. Mary Helen Bowers| professional ballerina and creator of the Ballet Beautiful fitness routine| brought ballet to the mainstream by taking on big-name clients like Gigi Hadid| Victoria’s Secret models| and other A-listers in order to get them in shape for their gigs. She’s also behind Natalie Portman‘s amazing transformation for her role as ballerina Nina Sayers in her Academy Award-winning Black Swan performance. The live-streaming classes make ballet more tangible and attainable so even more people can find their own definition of what it means to be “”ballet beautiful.””

    | Ballet Dancer Sergei Polunin Did a Heavenly Performance of Hozier’s “”Take Me to Church””

    Ukranian dancer Sergei Polunin’s collaboration with director David LaChapelle still gives us chills no matter how many times we watch it (and let’s be honest| we’ve watched it A LOT this year). The principal dancer’s hauntingly beautiful performance to the modern music of Hozier and a within a contemporary setting proves that the classic art of ballet can (and should!) blend together seamlessly with current culture.

    | A Chicago Studio Gave Classic Ballet a New Twist

    Classic ballet can sometimes be a bit rigid when it comes to rules| but this year proved that the boundaries of ballet can pushed u2014 and with amazing results. What we loved the most about Homer Hans Bryant’s choreography at the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center is that his dancers are “”trained in tradition and dipped in versatility.”” The studio’s Instagram shows off diverse dance styles paired with pop| jazz| and everything in between.

    | Social Media Went Behind the Scenes With Ballerinas

    To the average person| the life of a ballerina is somewhat of a glamorous mystery. The goal of a dancer is to make extremely hard work absolutely effortless| but sometimes seeing the effort behind the art is just as captivating. Social media in 2015 was flooded with images of dancers in “”normal”” environments| and photos like the ones from photographer Kenneth Edwards made ballet more relatable yet no less awe-inspiring. Some dancers have been sharing their personal journeys on social media as well u2014 the Instagram account of Juilliard student Mikaela Kelly is a unique and personal look into her life as a dancer. Juliet Doherty is another incredible dancer to follow; she’s often featured on the Ballerina Project but puts up even more images on her personal account.

    | Maddie Ziegler Continued to Impress Us All

    Maddie Ziegler| just 13 years old| is a dancing force to be reckoned with. She first showed up on Lifetime’s Dance Mums| where viewers followed the young dancer’s ballet career. She quickly made a name for herself outside of the show as the star of several of singer Sia’s music videos| and this year| she has spiced up her classic ballet training with more stint with the Rockettes| and even an opening dance scene on an episode of ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars.

    | Season 2 of “”Strictly Ballet”” Shed New Light on Young Dancers

    Many dancers sacrifice a lot to get to where they hope to be in their careers. The Teen Vogue documentary series Strictly Ballet‘s second season premiered this year| and proved just how much goes in to building a dance career. This year’s focus was on some of the obstacles young apprentices at the Miami City Ballet School faced u2014 many of whom are Latin Americans. The dancers were recruited at a very early age| and left their families and lives behind in their home countries. Watching aspiring athletes work to turn their dreams in to reality is truly inspiring.

    | Misty Copeland Brought Ballet to the Jimmy Kimmel Show

    The world can’t get enough of Misty Copeland| and neither can we. After her ground-breaking promotion to principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre| she made a hilarious appearance on Jimmy Kimmel to try and teach him some of her incredible skills. We’re not sure if Jimmy’s got what it takes to make it in the ballet world| but we hope 2016 brings us even more ballet| and even more Misty moments like this one.

    A Barre Workout For Sexy Abs

    Love barre workouts? This simple sequence from Self will help you get the ultimate barre body.

    Source: Thinkstock

    Last October we told you about the innovative lighting system at Barre Bee Fit, a Chicago?-based barre studio with cardio, strength training, and restorative classes designed specifically for women. The popular studio has rapidly expanded in the past year, announcing this Summer that it is rebranding as The Barre Code.

    The studio’s tech improvements are pretty impressive. “We’ve integrated a number of technological components in order to ensure uniformity from one studio location to the next, including drop?-down cameras, so we can easily check in on our various locations across the country; an online video portal, which allows us to store hundreds of pre?taped classes to assign to instructors on a weekly basis; and an iPad application that controls lighting, volume, and music for an on?-brand experience during every class,” said co?founder Ariana Chernin.

    The studios can now be found in 12 locations nationwide (and recently signed on nine franchise locations, including one in Washington DC). Even if you don’t have a location nearby, you can still sculpt your midsection with this oblique routine. Repeat this entire sequence five times for sexy abs, stat!

    1. Oblique Knee Pull

    oblique-knee-pull-barre-code

    Start standing, feet hip width apart. Step your right foot back on a diagonal and reach your arms up and to the left. Tighten the core and use your lowest abdominal muscles to drive your right knee into your chest as you pull down with the arms. Repeat for 30 seconds on one side, and then switch and do 30 seconds on the other side. Take it to the next level by adding a hop and seeing how fast you can go while maintaining good form and stability.

    2. Side Plank Leg Lift

    side-plank

    Start in a side plank, right elbow down and directly underneath the shoulder. Lift through the hips and out of the shoulder, engaging the obliques. Take your left hand high toward the ceiling.

    side-plank

    Then slowly lower the right hip and right leg to the ground, keeping the left leg stacked over the right. Keep lifted out of the right shoulder and drive the left elbow into the waist as you lift the left leg. Lower the leg and lift the hips, returning to the side plank position. Repeat 30 times, and then switch sides.

    3. L Crunch

    L-Crunch

    Start seated with the legs out long, toes pointed. Raise the right leg and grab behind your calf or thigh.

    lcrunch-2

    Engage the core and tuck under as you bend the right knee and crunch in, and then release and extend the right leg long again. Keep the chin off the chest and the gaze high and long. Repeat 30 times on the right side, and then switch sides.

    More from Self.com:

    What to Wear to Barre WorkoutsThe Best Barre Classes

    Source: The Barre Code

    A Barre Workout For Sexy Abs

    Love barre workouts? This simple sequence from Self will help you get the ultimate barre body.

    Source: Thinkstock

    Last October we told you about the innovative lighting system at Barre Bee Fit| a Chicago?-based barre studio with cardio| strength training| and restorative classes designed specifically for women. The popular studio has rapidly expanded in the past year| announcing this Summer that it is rebranding as The Barre Code.

    The studio’s tech improvements are pretty impressive. “We’ve integrated a number of technological components in order to ensure uniformity from one studio location to the next| including drop?-down cameras| so we can easily check in on our various locations across the country; an online video portal| which allows us to store hundreds of pre?taped classes to assign to instructors on a weekly basis; and an iPad application that controls lighting| volume| and music for an on?-brand experience during every class|” said co?founder Ariana Chernin.

    The studios can now be found in 12 locations nationwide (and recently signed on nine franchise locations| including one in Washington DC). Even if you don’t have a location nearby| you can still sculpt your midsection with this oblique routine. Repeat this entire sequence five times for sexy abs| stat!

    1. Oblique Knee Pull

    oblique-knee-pull-barre-code

    Start standing| feet hip width apart. Step your right foot back on a diagonal and reach your arms up and to the left. Tighten the core and use your lowest abdominal muscles to drive your right knee into your chest as you pull down with the arms. Repeat for 30 seconds on one side| and then switch and do 30 seconds on the other side. Take it to the next level by adding a hop and seeing how fast you can go while maintaining good form and stability.

    2. Side Plank Leg Lift

    side-plank

    Start in a side plank| right elbow down and directly underneath the shoulder. Lift through the hips and out of the shoulder| engaging the obliques. Take your left hand high toward the ceiling.

    side-plank

    Then slowly lower the right hip and right leg to the ground| keeping the left leg stacked over the right. Keep lifted out of the right shoulder and drive the left elbow into the waist as you lift the left leg. Lower the leg and lift the hips| returning to the side plank position. Repeat 30 times| and then switch sides.

    3. L Crunch

    L-Crunch

    Start seated with the legs out long| toes pointed. Raise the right leg and grab behind your calf or thigh.

    lcrunch-2

    Engage the core and tuck under as you bend the right knee and crunch in| and then release and extend the right leg long again. Keep the chin off the chest and the gaze high and long. Repeat 30 times on the right side| and then switch sides.

    More from Self.com:

    What to Wear to Barre WorkoutsThe Best Barre Classes

    Source: The Barre Code