BATD ON Sep 26, 2013 AT 3:27 pm

(Ballet Zaida by Oliver Endahl)

After the ballet boom caused by the lithe figures of Nathalie Portman and Mila Kunis in Black swan, there has been an influx of ballet fitness classes available at various gyms and studios up and down the UK, much to my delight. Like many girls I attended ballet classes when I was younger, and was something of a prima ballerina wannabe. So I couldn’t help but wonder what it would like to revisit a classically strict, Ballet Shoes-esque ballet class.

The Central School of Ballet runs adult classes throughout the week in the evenings and on Sundays. At £8 for an hour and a half’s worth of tuition, the lessons are more than worth the fee. I resolved to begin with my first class this summer and continue faithfully from then on.

As I walked through the doors of the ballet school, on Herbal Hill just off Clerkenwell Road, I could hear the tinkling of the pianos and muffled instructions of the teachers. I was a gasp away from clapping my hands together in nostalgic delight. I skipped up the stairs to the changing room where student ballet skirts and well-worn pointe shoes hung from coat hooks, before making my way to the studio for my own (slightly less demanding) class.

The Absolute Beginners Class is taught by David Kierce who trained at the Australian Ballet School. He has been a principal dancer in many companies including the Northern Ballet, and a ballet master for a number of years. The class is comprised of an hour at the barre, working our way through finding the perfect first position, to a tendue and battement fondu. We then move away from the barre to the centre of the room to put our balance into practice with the same positions and jumps from first and second. To finish we chassé across the room, feeling every inch the white swan (sort of).

David is at once enthusiastic and hilarious in his encouragement, but strict and informative in his criticism. As we plié and rise to the piano music, the sense of achievement felt if he walks past you without altering your deportment is indescribable. The workout is gentle yet intense and leaving glistening with perspiration makes you feel like the perfectly devout ballerina.

Oh and needless to say, shopping for ballet shoes is an absolute treat!

For more information on classes available and timetables, visit


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