If you’ve ever questioned whether a ballet class could give you the same kind of muscle-shaking, total exhaustion feel that you find in, say, HIIT or spin, allow us to introduce you to the Extension Room.
We recently attended the studio’s Allegro Ballet Bootcamp. Described as “classical ballet ‘with an edge and an extra kick’, building cardiovascular stamina and muscular endurance,” the class delivered on all of that and then some.
The Extension Room is located on a sparsely populated stretch of Eastern Avenue, just shy of Corktown. When you enter the building and walk up the few stairs, you enter a huge open space. The main room is bright a total dance studio vibe: exposed brick has been painted white, beautiful chandeliers hang from the ceiling and floor to ceiling mirrors (and of course ballet bars) make the space feel more like a ballet studio than a regular workout space.
The instructors at the Extension Room are dancers themselves and their resumes speak to their talent, hard work and their ballet expertise. Our Instructor Tyler (who himself has an impressive resume that includes training at The National Ballet School in Toroto) brought amazing energy to the class.
Before class began, Tyler gave a quick rundown of important ballet terms and ballet positions we would need to know, including the pirouette. Before each new song he would quickly show us the new ballet dance moves we would use in the next track which helped us ballet newbies feel a little more comfortable. During each set, Tyler corrected form and even came to the back of the room so we could see him when doing a forward bend.
The class participants were a mix of ballet newcomers and seasoned vets. Many participants have been attending class there for two years – a kind of loyalty that speaks to the supportive climate that has been created at the Extension Room.
This class challenged more than just our muscles, as we were constantly using using mental strength to focus on each new move and how to perform it correctly and quickly. The class was fast paced and the hour flew by. Like true ballerinas, our arms were engaged the whole time, by our sides, in the air, or moving. The class ended with core work on the floor before a final stretch and a curtsy which made it feel like our performance had officially ended.
During the class we realized the importance of letting yourself go and not over thinking the movements, or the workout. We may not have a career as prima ballerinas but the Extension Room let us pretend we were, if only for an hour.