Courtesy of Amber Gugino
I am not a dancer (I’ve mentioned this in previous posts). Often relegated to the back of the chorus in my high-school’s very large musicals (literally, hundreds of people were in these things), before show-time, the choreographer would say to me: “just do your best,” generally while slightly tilting her head and giving me a pitying look.
So, I’m not usually into dancing (i.e., embarrassing myself in public). However, I AM into staying physically fit, as long as there’s a bit of variety to keep me motivated. I have a trainer with whom I meet (Will Wagner, who has “appeared” in my posts of yesteryear and whom I love because he comes to right to my condo), but sometimes I just want to do something that’s more fun than it is work. Cue DANA, my friendly Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association, and an email I got from them last month with a link to a voucher for a FREE class at downtown Austin’s Ballet Austin (these sorts of promotions are just ONE of the many perks to membership). Nuthin’ like the word FREE to get my attention. I immediately checked out their website to see their offerings.
I had never considered adding Ballet Austin to my fitness routine, until I looked at the classes (here’s a link to the descriptions for the “class-card” classes: http://www.balletaustin.org/community/open.php). I’m mightily ashamed to admit this, but I didn’t even realize they had “community” style classes that were open to the public – I had always envisioned the Ballet Austin studios full of very serious ballerinas, half-starved to death so as to squeeze into their tutus, prancing eloquently on their tip-toes for hours on end. That’s not really the vibe, as it turns out.
Not to say the dancers in the Broadway Fit class that I took this morning weren’t REALLY good. Almost intimidatingly so. BUT, the instructors, Danny and Rocker, and all of the dancers were extremely warm and welcoming. One nice woman even let me borrow an extra pair of jazz shoes she had (since I was in my completely…ahem….appropriate running shoes). Also, I must point out that this particular Broadway Fit class was intended for the more advanced student, which I definitely am not (see paragraph 1). Broadway Fit 101 or Basic are probably more my speed at this point.
Me: front row, center – looking conspicuously out of place amongst the friendly professionals, but not really caring
Anyway, the take away here is that Ballet Austin has much more to offer the community than many people may think. Not only do they put on spectacular performances, they offer both the traditional array of classes for adults/teens/kids (and some funkier ones, like Hula), AND they offer a host of other dance-related fitness oriented classes (Zumba®, Arms & Abs), AND AND they offer Pilates and Yoga.
Pricing / Logistics: I think the “class-card” system is probably the best way to start your experience. Basically, “class-card” classes are all the classes that appear on the BCS Class-Card – here’s the link with the list: http://www.balletaustin.org/community/open.php. If you purchase through the class-card, you can just walk into any of those listed courses, and you can choose whatever course you want. Here’s the current schedule: http://www.balletaustin.org/community/sch_open.php?index.
The rates for class-cards are as follows:
Single Walk-In – $17
4-Classes – $60 or $15/class
8-Classes – $110 or $13.75/class
12-Classes – $150 or $12.50/class
16-Classes – $190 or $11.88/class
20-Classes – $220 or $11/class
Unlimited Class-Card – $1800
Pretty reasonable rates if you go with one of the multi-visit cards, and I really like the flexibility in terms of options and times.
Anyway, I had a blast, and will definitely be back – putting this on my “recommend to others” list for sure.
501 W. 3rd Street
Austin, TX 78701
512.476.9051 // fax 512.472.3073
This article originally appeared in http://downtownaustinblog.org/2011/02/02/downtowns-ballet-austin-more-than-just-ballet/.