After watching Black Swan, it’s clear that ballet is not for wimps – these women (and men) are as strong as they are flexible and poised, not to mention, their bodies look incredible! Recently, Teen Vogue interviewed the woman behind the athleticism and elegance of the Black Swan actors and performers – Mary Helen Bowers – to inform readers on how they can improve their strength, balance and posture. Check out the interview below, and click here to read more!
How does ballet help to create a stronger body?
The idea behind my book, Ballet Beautiful (Da Capo Press), is that we’re building a body type that’s strong and elegant. Dancers have an interesting mix between artistry and athleticism. They have stamina, strength, and long, lean muscles. It’s the ultimate example of feminine strength.
What’s your fitness philosophy?
It’s really all about making exercise and your health a part of your everyday life and making that time fun for yourself!
Do you have any advice for teens who don’t feel they’re very coordinated?
Even dancers struggle with coordination! Practice is what you’ll need. Regular exersice will get you moving and feeling more confident and fit. Never obsess over what you may not feel is great about yourself. Just have fun!
Do you have any tips for creating a stronger sense of balance?
You want to focus on strengthening your core and your waist. Ab exercises will increase your center of balance. You can turn almost anything into an ab exercise! Even just sitting up straighter in your seat will engage your center.
What advice do you have for improving one’s posture?
A lot of it comes down to habit. Upper body exercises build muscles through your back and arms, helping you maintain better posture throughout the day. Remind yourself all the time to do a quick stance check. Pull up through your stomach, open up the back, and extend long through the neck. If you have great posture, you’re also going to project a lot of confidence.
What’s your go-to snack for a busy day?
I like things I can take with me and pop into my bag. I eat a lot of fruit, like apples, pears, oranges, and clementines. Nuts are also a healthy and portable snack, and I love popcorn with a bit of olive oil.