Aerobarre

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  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Aerobarre

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Aerobarre

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Aerobarre

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Aerobarre

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Aerobarre

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Aerobarre

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Aerobarre

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Aerobarre

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    Aerobarre

Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

Aerobarre

I'm sick of spinning and it's getting too hot to go running—I need a new workout. Help! Take a cue from The Fighter and Black Swan with Aerobarre, a new, somewhat punishing hybrid of boxing and ballet.

So it combines a sport in which you pummel people with one in which you dance on your toes? How does that even make sense? "Aerobarre juxtaposes the grace of ballet with the power of boxing," says Leila Fazel, a former ballerina who teaches sessions at West Village gym Aerospace. She and her Aerospace co-owner, Michael Olajide Jr.—a former champion middleweight boxer who has worked with a plethora of celebrities, including Marky Mark himself—developed the class. "The skill sets are actually similar for dancing and boxing: recall, agility, balance and being able to control speed," Fazel explains. "Even ritualistically, they have a lot in common, since boxers wrap their hands like ballerinas wrap their feet. And they're both solo sports."

Okay, so they have things in common. But you said punishing—what's a class like? Each session starts with stretches incorporating ballet moves like plis that target leg muscles. After doing a variety of sculpting maneuvers using ballet foot positioning, you go through jump-roping intervals: At first it's the playground version, but Fazel makes it more challenging with moves like jumping on one leg and crisscrossing arms. You'll then do reps of basic boxing moves, including punches, jabs and uppercuts, with a one-pound weight in each hand. The hour also includes ballet-inspired exercises; remember Natalie Portman practicing swan arms in Black Swan? You might do that, with weights, and it's not easy.

Yikes. Indeed—we were sore for three days afterward, but in a good way. And anyone can do it: The class is designed for nondancers, and Fazel constantly moves through the room to make sure everyone is nailing the proper form. If you become a regular, you might end up with the gams of Portman and the guns of Wahlberg.

Sign me up! Classes take place every Wednesday (6--7pm) and Thursday (9:30--10:30am) at Aerospace (332 W 13th St between Hudson and Gansevoort Sts; 212-929-1640, aerospacenyc.com). The first session is $20, and each subsequent class is $40; you can also sign up for a monthly membership, which starts at $250 and includes all classes.

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