My name is Kathryn Boren. I’m a dancer at American Ballet Theatre. I started when I was
about three years old, which is really young but
probably by around age seven, I decided, “Yeah, I’m
doing this seriously.” You know, when you’re young and you’re just dancing all the time, everything’s – it’s very easy for your body to adapt. As I started aging and becoming more aware of my body and the aches and pains and the strengths and weaknesses, I started to experiment with
how I could make it easier in the studio, injury
prevention, longevity, all that. And so I started really
getting into cross-training and fitness. I found out about
Dogpound through a friend. I’ve known Nigel Barker, the
photographer, for many years and he was one of the OG Dogpounders and he introduced me to Kirk Myers, the creator of Dogpound. And we just, we hit it off. He offered to train me. He trained me once and he was like, “Wow, I could learn so much from working with a ballerina, like what
kind of things you need, how I can help you, how you can help me.” And then from then on, we
just really got into it. So it’s been about three years. The guys would have such great ideas and exercises that nobody else could do, but they’re like, “Maybe she can do it.” And I would take it and I’d
be like, “Yeah, this is great, but let’s change it
like this or like that,” so it could more beneficial for ballet or just incorporating ballet moves. So then once that got
started, fire just went off and I was like, “Let’s see how crazy, how intense we can get.” Of course staying safe and all that. I find that a lot of
body-weight-bearing exercises are really beneficial for ballerinas. I do a lot of core exercises. That’s one of the most
important things I feel like in ballet technique. We have to be able to control everything from our center and have that stability. I’ve always had a very hard
time building muscle in my legs so I’ve tried to really focus on that, keeping them strong, stable, a lot of ankle stability, which I feel was really important for me. When I was younger, I
had very, very mobile, flexible ankles and it’s a dangerous thing when you’re doing a lot of pointe work. The training’s just
made me so much stronger and so much more in control of my body and I know my body so much better now so I know what it’s capable
of and how I can push it and how far it can go and I know I can still be
in complete control of it. We work really hard in the studio and we get a lot out of
our classes and rehearsals, but there’s a lot that we don’t target or that we could be
adding to our technique and our foundation. So, I think it’s so important to add just a little bit extra in there. I mean, it gives you a great edge and I think it’s really important. I’ve definitely built a lot more muscle, which has always been
something very hard for me. I’ve always had a very lean physique and it was hard to build muscle no matter what exercises
I did or how much I ate. So, I feel like that’s just made me a much more grounded, free dancer. I don’t usually go too
heavy on the upper body or when I do, I use
very light weights just to keep the ballet physique. There is a certain way
that we have to train in order to maintain the
ballet physique and aesthetic. We don’t want to bulk up. I’ve come to find people
think we don’t eat. People think we’re just
like the movie “Black Swan,” which we are not, I promise you. We’re fun, normal people. We just have a very serious day job. I think people just think
ballerinas can be stiff or rigid, cold, and I wish
we could break that stigma and I think that with
social media these days, people are being able to
see us behind the scenes and in the studio being
goofy, being backstage, eating a lot. I see a lot of food posts, but yeah. I’m a mouse, duh. Duh! I will rest once a week. I don’t like to stay away from class for more than three days at a time. It’s just not good for
the body or for my sanity. I recover, I get a lot of massages. I think cryotherapy has been
really, really beneficial. I spend hours on my roller at home on my living room floor. Ice baths, Epsom salt,
all the good things. I’m a certified personal trainer now. So, I started training some
of the dancers in the company and that’s been such a cool experience. I think anything that
challenges stabilization, you’re gonna get the
most out of the exercise. My friend Rhys who’s a great trainer and a great friend of mine at Dogpound, we’ve always tried to come up
with the most crazy exercises or the most viral videos. And so we took the slide
board out in the rain and I got on it and I was like
going down into the splits and then coming back up, which is killer for your inner thighs, which is great for dancers. But yeah we shot it within five seconds, and I was totally drenched, but we got a cool video out of it. And yeah my thighs got a great workout.

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Dennis Veasley

100 thoughts on “The Extreme Workout Regimen Of A Professional Ballerina”

  1. Something I find interesting that not many talk about is the silence of their movements. When a ballerina jumps in to the air there will definitely be some noise from the hard bottom in their shoes, but when they generally move around there is almost no sound. That silence is, what I believe, to be a big reason why it feels like they're flying around on stage. It is truly fascinating and definitely deserves more credit.

  2. i need advice!
    i started dancing ballet when i was 4, and i had dreams of becoming a professional dancer. unfortunately when i was 12 i had an ankle injury (not too serious, i was off dancing for a month) but when they x-rayed my ankle to check if it was healed, they found out i had severs disease, which is to do with growing rapidly and exercise, and it became too sore to dance on. my coaches and parents agreed i would take a year off, then come back with it all healed. but we moved out to the country and there are no studios around us now, and i never went back to dancing. i'm 15 now, and all i want to do is be a dancer. i can't imagine being happy in any other life where i'm not a professional dancer, but i can't take lessons now. what should i do?

  3. I have great respect for ballerinas and how insanely hard they work, but who on earth in their right mind would choose ballet as their professional path? If you ever saw their toes you know they are wrecked, just one injury and you're out of business for a while if not forever…. Plus ballerinas have a relatively short 'shelf life' so to say… It's not like you can dance for the rest of your life, they retire at a relatively young age.

  4. I respect her completely…but I have to say ballarina or not, I wish she was a bit thicker and more booty, its painful to think of her landing on her ass 😖

  5. I love ballet and I dance 5 days a week 4 hours and love dance all styles but I am not flexible but I really want to dance on Broadway when I am older that is my dream

  6. I prefer watching the men dance in ballet. They are actually more graceful than the women. I find women ballet so very boring to watch. I think the very tall ones just don't look right.

  7. From the way she talks about her muscles and even aches and pains with her ankles it wouldn't surprise me if she has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome but is strong enough to keep going. The issue is when you stop and everything starts to fall out….

  8. I have many questions.
    1. What is that balancing ball thingy called and where can I get one?
    2. The splits in the rain, was that a special mat? Or would any yoga mat do?

  9. I wonder if she has her period amidst all her intense exercise + low body fat… bc i lost mine when i was working out hard & at about 16 bmi

  10. Give me a break. Is she human? I'm saying all this in awe and admiration. Having danced and done other sports, I know what it takes to even be at the bottom of the food chain. EVERY BODY should see this video.

  11. Need advice from the ballet community. Im writing a story about a 14 year old dancer from a small town. Would it be plausible for her local company put on Giselle, (perhaps an abbreviated version?) and have her dance the lead? thanks.

  12. Please please do a workout series or video with basics to advanced. I’d love to do this but I’m anything but a dancer. Some of these moves looked like they’d feel so good to accomplish.

  13. My jaw is on the floor when i see their feet all squished while standing. i'm dying after just 1h of wearing high heels, i can't even imagine how they manage to do it for so long and so often

  14. Your dancing is so distinct! It is so powerful and effortless. The training is evident in your dancing!

  15. I feel like figure skaters, gymnasts, and ballerinas use the most of their body and the most muscles which makes them impressive

  16. Why do they always lie and say they eat a lot like on my 600lb life they lie and say they barely eat. That’s so annoying. The workouts are cool though.

  17. Great video. FYI heavier weights don't cause bulk. This is one of the most popular myths. Testosterone causes bulk.

  18. This is really cool but, "I only use lightweight to not bulk up the upper body" and "I'm a personal trainer" don't really fit hand in hand. Using 3 lb dumbells once you're already strong isn't going to build muscle unless you use them for extremely long and impossible amounts of time.

  19. 0:36 – Oooh yuk! I know ballerinas have extraordinary feet but no-one should be able to walk on their toes curled under like that.

  20. “I am lean I have such a hard time putting on some muscle mass no matter what I eat”
    After 3 seconds
    “ I go light weight when I work my upper body, don’t want to bulk up”
    Ok.

  21. To the people complaining that she is too thin: Balanchine wanted to see bones. So now we have to show our bones. It’s the nature of the work. When you love something enough, you’ll do anything to yourself to continue doing it. Even if it isn’t necessarily healthy. She is a talented dancer, she has the stamina to complete routines, she has the strength to hit all of the moves, and she has the right appearance for ballet. So really there’s no problem. As long as she’s not passing out from overworking and lack of nutrition, she’s healthy enough. That’s how it is in the dance world.
    There are dancers who are more muscular in American companies, but not in Europe and Asia and especially not in Russia.
    It is what it is. You should read Gelsey Kirkland’s Dancing On My Grave. It shows what a true problem is when it comes to weight and dance. This girl? She is normal in ballet. We all push ourselves to be thinner and thinner because it will get us further in our careers. As long as we can dance and aren’t passing out and/or dying, we continue. Is it healthy? No. It’s art. It’s passion. It’s insanity.
    But it’s us.

  22. She's opposite from me. I can gain a lot of strength in my legs and lower area but I have so much trouble gaining strength in my core and arms

  23. As a ballet dancer, this is pretty accurate, except since I’m only 14, I don’t go to the gym. I do stretch and only do body weight exercises.

  24. I've tried plain gym and other forms of exercise but always return ballet and similar exercises are the best. They make the body feel so good, so powerful and free, when you have such flexibility, strength, balance, tamina, grace, agility, speed etc. One does not have to be a star or some great balletic beauty or even have the ideal body type to enjoy the benefits. Just do it. Even if you cannot do much, it will still benefit you if you do what you can and try to push the barrier a little further each time. But, it is crucial to do the exercises correctly, to avoid injuries and harm to your body. You need right technique. Not just trying to perform impressive physical feats. And, obviously, just swanni g around looking pretty in a tutu but not straining or exhausting yourself or getting all hot and sweaty will not deliver any fitness benefits. You really do have to work hard, which might include getting down onto a dirty hard floor to perform floor based exercises, which may be hard eg splits etc but are generally pretty safer and healthy.

  25. How do people think their bodys are made by starving?! They train for at least half the day and burn thousands of calories a week!

  26. Sometimes I look at things and see people and think “that’s it. That’s what I want to do. That’s what I want to be.”

  27. This is insane!! I love it!! I was obsessed wth ballet and did it for four years as a kid then went back in my twenties and oh lawd! I felt so big and bulky and stiff, I was 114 lbs.

  28. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.
    Salvation is in faith, but we must first realize that we're lost sinners and will die and burn in hell for eternity without Christ, once we see ourselves, all one needs to do is repent of their sins, and put their faith in God: believing with all their heart that He will forgive every sin. And asking Him to save their soul from hell with all faith and all sincerity! Believe in God and He will save you today.

  29. I started ballet at 10. I was so embarrassed and I used to tell people I started at 3 (like everyone else). Obviously I wasn't caught up to EVERYBODY but I learned really really quickly and now my whole life is ballet. I am 13 now and let me tell you… I have gotten SO MUCH better! Don't let anything stop you from your goals or dreams no matter statistics, age, or difficulty ♡

  30. Amazing and so good to watch. This is also a good example of rational self-interest. Meaning that people ought to drop the word selfish as an insult. Selfish can be bad and good, but it requires context. But selfishness in of itself is not negative, it's just being used wrongly that way. Rational self-interest is essential to be the wonderful artist that Kathryn is.

  31. You can’t build muscle because you’re anorexic. Jesus. Watch Misty Copeland. She’s at a healthy weight and is strong .

  32. She makes the balance ball stuff look so easy! Try just standing on one with both feet to appreciate what she does!

  33. I was watching this with my little sister, she said the stuff she was doing wasn’t even that hard. I genuinely wanted to slap her in the face

  34. I know a girl who was a dancer and contortionist, turns out her hypermobility is a genetic medical condition with lots of complications. Wonder how many of these dancers could have the same?

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