I started ballet lessons aged 26 – this is how it changed my body

To mark the release of Rudolf Nureyev biopic, The White Crow, Victoria Fell started four weeks of intensive ballet training – and the results were amazing

ballet

Surprising fact: I never attended a ballet class as a child. As a slightly more robust kid, I gravitated more towards climbing trees and pony camp, where I spent rainy afternoons eating packed lunches in old caravans.

So ballet, which is often a rite of passage for young girls was something I never got into: no tutu, no pink tights, none of those impossibly tidy hair buns. Apart from a two-month foray into the world of classical dance at the age of 11 when I had ambitions of becoming a musical theatre sensation, my experience with the art form is zero.

Which is why when offered the chance to train with Bennet Gartside, I jété’d (sorry, not sorry) at the chance. A Principal Character Artist of The Royal Ballet, who also runs Everybody Ballet, Bennet coached Ralph Fiennes leading up to the production of his new film based on the life of ballet legend Rudolph Nureyev, The White Crow, so that he could get a better understanding of the art form. Safe to say then, that I would be in good hands.

Would I be sugar plum failure, or would it turn out that ballet was the pastime I was born to do? Only time would tell.

Week 1, Day 1

I am anxiously lurking outside the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, and I’m pretty sure that at this point, I’m the personification of imposter syndrome. However, Bennet is an absolute pro at making even the most inexperienced beginner (me) feel welcome. We start with the first few basic positions of arms, then move on to legs, and I am immediately using muscles that have pretty much lain dormant for the last 26 years, AND using them all simultaneously. By the end, I had managed a plié and learned what turnout is, and how important it is. Not bad for Day 1.

ballet challenge

My first picture – it might look like I am merely standing on my tiptoes, but I am thinking about at least 6 different posture-related matters at this point.

Week 1, Day 2

Ballet takes mental, as well as physical strength, and the fact that I’m up at 6.30am to do a class before work proves this. After a quick warm-up, today we ventured into the realms of tendus and battements – the latter involving lifting your leg off the floor. It’s so much harder than it looks, and I feel a wave of pride when I manage to bring my straight leg and pointed-ish toe to the heady heights of about 5cm off the floor.

Post-class, I am raring to go for the work day ahead. Outside of classes, I’ve also started thinking about my posture more – the muscles in my back are frankly, killing me, but I already feel that I am sitting and standing more upright.

Week 2, Day 1

The muscles in my back are finally back to normal, but the fact that it’s taken a week is a pretty worrying sign of how bad my posture actually was before. Today’s class was filled with jétés, battements, and even the odd grand battement, but the most fascinating thing for me has been seeing how my body has responded to the training. Bennet has been catering for an old injury in my left knee (I sledged into a wall on a Norwegian mountain aged 9, as one does), yet ballet is the only sport I’ve undertaken where my left leg has a noticeably weaker side… it’s no exaggeration to say that ballet uses every muscle.

Big thank you to the team at Bloch, who put up with my many questions about ballet shoes and have the most social media-friendly packaging ever.

Week 2, Day 2

Today we moved away from the safety of the barre into no man’s land, where we worked on jumps, and this is some serious cardio. Thankfully, having played netball at school definitely helps with the jumping, however the muscle memory for flailing my arms around (interception queen) also remains, which isn’t particularly balletic.

Leaving the class, I felt pretty positive about my new-and-improved posture, but then I see actual Royal Ballet company members gliding into the studio incomprehensibly gracefully as I leave, and realise that I definitely need to keep on practising.

Week 3, Day 1

Today we faced a milestone in my ballet training: the pirouette. However, like most things in ballet, the effortless appearance of these spins is very, very deceptive. The checklist of muscles to keep engaged is lengthier than usual, so means that pirouette prep takes a lesson – there is balancing, there is turnout, there are toes that need to be pointed. This element of ballet is as much as a cerebral workout as it is a physical one, and I’ve noticed that the mornings where I have my ballet lessons before work are often the most productive.

Attempting an arabesque (note the intense concentration).

Week 3, Day 2

Last lesson’s prep came to fruition today… well, sort of. I spun, and I spotted and I almost succeeded at a pirouette (again, see the Marie Claire Insta channel for the evidence). I don’t think I’ll be able to master pirouettes by the end of the challenge, but trying to is amusing enough.

From the way my clothes are fitting me, I am seeing the toning effects of ballet first-hand. This is only with two sessions a week: imagine what the professionals go through, working and training six days a week.

Week 4, Day 1

The final week is here. The pirouettes are still as hard as they were the week before, but my muscle memory has developed to the point where the mental checklist of muscles to squeeze and tighten is being ticked off so much quicker than at the beginning.

Today also saw me attempt what can only be described as ‘speed tendus’, which illustrates the general position I find myself in with ballet, where my mind understands what I need to do but my body just won’t play ball. Having said that, I’ve noticed a definite improvement in my stamina and my consistency, which makes doing 14 of these moves in a row a fraction easier.

Week 4, Day 2

We went all out for our last sessions: think jumps, think turns, think chassés across the diagonal of the floor. All this in The Clore Studio, an incredible rehearsal and performance space in the Royal Opera House, which has hosted such names as Princess Margaret in the audience… no pressure then.

An hour of putting what I’d learned into action, and the mental checklist that I went through with every balance and tendu was getting quicker and quicker. It’s also probably rose-tinted glasses, but in this session, it felt like I was able to balance for longer and could lift my legs higher and more accurately than even the session before. And with a final chassé smiling at my imaginary Royal audience, our final lesson was over.

The Clore Studio

So, what did I learn?

Even in four weeks, a lot. Firstly, a huge thanks to Bennet Gartside, whose knowledge and patience made what could have been a fairly embarrassing challenge (I am that clumsy) so much fun. Post-challenge, my posture is noticeably better and I have so much more awareness of what each muscle in my body controls and is capable of doing: even something as simple as trying to stand in the middle of a tube carriage during rush hour without taking anyone out is easier.

Add on to this a somehow even greater respect for just how intense ballet is, and just how much effort it takes to make an art form so intensely difficult look so breathtakingly easy, and I’m sold.

I’ll see you at the barre.

The White Crow is out on March 22.

The post I started ballet lessons aged 26 – this is how it changed my body appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Topless Hugh Jackman shows off ripped body as he showers on the beach in Australia ahead of Greatest Showman sequel

HUGH Jackman revealed his incredible body as he showered on the beach in Australia today.

The 50-year-old actor, who has secretly begun work on a sequel to The Greatest Showman, showed off his ripped physique during an early morning swim at Bondi Beach in Sydney.

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Hugh Jackman revealed his incredible physique on the beach in Australia
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The Wolverine and X-Men star made a splash as he jogged out of the sea and looked refreshed from his Monday morning workout.

Revealing his toned bod, the actor rinsed the sand off his abs underneath a public shower.

Despite his huge fame, Hugh was left to get on with his morning routine in his native country – after The Sun revealed he has been dividing his time between his native Australia and America as he secretly films the sequel to The Greatest Showman.

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Hugh, 50, looked refreshed from his Monday morning workout Down Under
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He stripped down to his shorts for his early morning dip
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Hugh rinsed the sand off underneath a public shower
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The Aussie actor is already working behind-the-scenes on the new blockbuster with director Michael Gracey.

The  film was predicted to be a flop by critics on its release in late 2017.

But it proved a hit  and went on to become the third highest-grossing musical in history.

Jackman opened this week’s Brit Awards with a performance as circus legend PT Barnum after the soundtrack became the biggest selling album of last year on both sides of the Atlantic.

Hugh Jackman
High opened the Brits last week with a performance from The Greatest Showman
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A sequel to the Hugh Jackman musical phenomenon The Greatest Showman sequel is secretly being made, The Sun can reveal
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A sequel to the Hugh Jackman musical phenomenon The Greatest Showman is already being made, The Sun can reveal[/caption]


In London to support his leading man, Gracey told The Sun: “When a movie becomes as big a success as this, it’s only natural there is demand for a sequel. So those discussions have started and we are working on one right now.”

It is not yet known if the new film will follow on from the first or  be a prequel.

Jackman is expected to lead the cast but the involvement of his co-stars Michelle Williams, Zac Efron and Keala Settle is unclear.

However, acclaimed songwriting duo Pasek and Paul — behind hits including This Is Me and Never Enough — are likely to return.


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Body Recovered From Plane in English Channel Is Argentine Soccer Star Emiliano Sala

(LONDON) — Police have confirmed that the body recovered from a plane in the English Channel is that of Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala.

Dorset police made the announcement on Thursday evening after a coroner’s examination of the body, which was recovered from the seabed wreckage of the plane on Wednesday.

Sala, who had just signed with Premier League club Cardiff, and pilot David Ibbotson were the only people onboard the small aircraft that disappeared over the English Channel last month.

Investigators have not been able to recover the aircraft, which was flying from Nantes to Cardiff after Sala transferred from the French city’s team.

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A Body Has Been Recovered From the Wreckage of Emiliano Sala’s Plane

Authorities have recovered a body from the wreckage of a plane that crashed in the English Channel with Argentine soccer star Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson on board.

The Guardian reports that the body was successfully extracted but authorities have yet to confirm whether it is the footballer or the pilot.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) found the body using remotely operated vehicles in “challenging conditions” in poor weather. The recovery took place three days after the aircraft was found on the seabed, more than two weeks after its disappearance on Jan. 21.

“The operation was carried out in as dignified a way as possible and the families were kept informed of progress,” the AAIB said in a statement, according to the Guardian. An attempt to recover the aircraft, which is largely intact, was suspended due to harsh weather conditions.

The AAIB said the operation has been brought to a close and the body is being transferred to the care of the Dorset coroner.

Ibbotson was flying the 28-year-old Cardiff City striker on a Piper Malibu plane from Nantes, France to Cardiff, Wales when the plane fell out of contact. The aircraft was found nearly 200 feet underwater. Difficult tidal conditions have hampered rescue efforts at the site of the wreckage, 21 miles north of the Channel island of Guernsey.

On Wednesday, Sala’s previous club, Nantes, demanded that the city of Cardiff pay the first installment of the $ 19 million transfer fee of Sala, the BBC reports. Sala was Cardiff’s record signing but had yet to play for the club at the time of his disappearance.

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RuPaul’s ‘Drag Race’ inspires college course on race, body image

Drag queen class is now in session. A full-semester spring course called “RuPaul’s Drag Race and Its Impact” launched this week at the New School in Manhattan. Taught by drag historian Joe E. Jeffreys, the course will study the reality TV hits in the context of contemporary culture — and spill the tea on drag…
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Miranda Kerr: I’m happy with my mum body

OHMYGOSSIP — Miranda Kerr feels happy with her “mum bod”.
The 35-year-old model – who has sons Flynn, seven, and six-month-old Hart – has revealed she is content with her post-pregnancy figure.
She confessed: “I’ve got a mum bod and it’s fine!”
The Australian beauty – who married her second husband, the billionaire businessman Evan Spiegel, in 2017 – thinks it’s important that women don’t feel under pressure to lose their baby weight in sudden fashion.
Speaking to Marie Claire Australia, Miranda shared: “It’s really important as women that we’re gentle with ourselves and don’t feel like we have to snap back into shape after a baby.”
The Victoria’s Secret model is happy to bide her time to regain her pre-pregnancy figure.
In fact, Miranda admitted her body may not ever feel the same as it did before the arrival of her second child.
She said: “I don’t mind. It’s all part of it. I took nine months – well, 10 months – to grow a beautiful child and it might take 10 months to feel good in a swimsuit again. Or longer. Or never!”
Meanwhile, Orlando Bloom – Miranda’s first husband – is reportedly ready to “settle down” with Katy Perry.
The British actor – who is the father of Miranda’s son Flynn – is feeling “like a new person” and thinks he’s “matured” a lot since the first time they started dating in 2016.
A source recently explained: “He is ready to settle down with Katy.
“Being with Katy makes Orlando very happy.
“In the past, he seemed so scattered and unwilling to settle down. He is like a new person now and everyone is excited for him.”

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Body Goals: Jazmine Sullivan Shows Off Weight Loss On Instagram

ESSENCE Best In Black Beauty Awards Carnival

Source: D Dipasupil / Getty

Listen…Jazmine Sullivan is back…and looking like a snack!

The 31-year-old has been on Instagram showing off her svelte snatched body after losing what looks like more than 70 pounds.

Here’s the “Need U Bad” singer slaying in this royal blue suit!

Instagram Photo

 

Looking like Nicki Minaj’s twin, here’s another amazing picture of her back in September looking flawless in a black and white patterned suit. She has definitely been working out.

Instagram Photo

 

YAAASSSS!

Instagram Photo

Fans have been flocking to social media to show the songtress some love and congratulate on all of her hard weight-loss work.

It’s pretty obvious that Jaz has been hitting the gym and eating healthier for the past year. According to a June 2018 Media TakeOut post, Jazmine weighed around 190 pounds. But thanks to her intensive weight loss regimen, she’s dropped 60 pounds.

Listen, we love Jazmine at any size, we’re just happy that she’s happy!


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Tamar Braxton Compares Her New Boo To ‘Jesus Walking Out Of The Water’ While Fans Body Shame Vincent Herbert; She Defends Her Ex – Here’s The Video

Tamar Braxton has been living her best days for a while. She is together with her new boyfriend on vacay, and she has been keeping her fans and followers updated.

Tamar has been sharing lots of pics and videos from their vacation, and the latest video shows her boyfriend getting out of the water, while she’s lying in the sun.

We can hear Tamar comparing her new man with Jesus as she asks: ‘Is that Jesus walking out of the water?’

🎤 Said i wasn’t gone tell nobody but I….😂😂😩🤷🏽‍♀️’ Tamar captioned her video.

Someone posted ‘Vince shouldn’t have messed her career around the way he did. She wanted a new manager, and Vince couldn’t handle that. To sabotage your wife’s career is disloyal. How could she ever trust Vince again? A smart women to file for divorce and move on. Tamar wasn’t Vince property to do with as he pleased. He decided he made her and he was gonna break her. That decision cost him the marriage. Hooray for Tamar💥💥💥

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🎤 Said i wasn’t gone tell nobody but I….😂😂😩🤷🏽‍♀️

A post shared by Tamar Braxton ❤ (@tamarbraxton) on

Another follower wrote ‘He better be able to keep up with you’re lifestyle a hot body comes a dimes a dozen haha.’

One commenter made a joke and said ‘I had to call my lil boo cuz I thought that was him😂 I almost had to make a trip lol enjoy @tamarbraxton you deserve it👏🏾👏🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾

Someone criticized Tamar for what she said and posted ‘the fact that she called another man Jesus period is just wrong.’

Someone made a comment involving her ex, Vincent Herbert and Tamar hopped in the comments section as well to defend the man.

The Shade Room was quick enough to see the conversation and post it on their social media account.

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Okay #TamarBraxton!! We see you sis

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on

‘That’s one hell of a transformation I don’t care what nobody say…..I had to keep reading comments to know that it really was Vince! He looks amazing’ someone commented, suggesting that the man is Vincent.

Someone else posted ‘I mean he lost hella weight after he had that health scare. Shouldn’t that count for something??? I can’t stand body shamers 🙄

Tamar has recently unveiled her new thigh tattoo while she was on this vacay, trying to lay low with her new man. She seems happy andprobably that’s all that matters.

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Octavia Spencer Working With Mark Wahlberg to Transform Her Body

Octavia Spencer and Mark Wahlberg working out
Octavia Spencer and Mark Wahlberg Courtesy of Mark Wahlberg/Instagram

To be the best, you need help from the best — which is exactly why Octavia Spencer has recruited the help of her Instant Family costar, Mark Wahlberg, to help transform her body.

The Shack star, 46, has teamed up with the Mile 22 actor, 47, for a unique training partnership — and the results are already starting to show. Spencer has been documenting her workouts on Instagram and in a video she posted on October 28, she credits Wahlberg’s Performance Inspired supplements for the assistance in slimming down.

“I never go sleeveless. But here is what I want to show you. I’ve been working out for years and the cellulite on my arms has NEVER gone away. It’s melting away from my thighs, too!” she captioned the clip, which features her showing off her arms.“The changes I’ve made? @performinspired supplements. Combined with balancing nutrition and the right workouts the changes are amazing.”

The Boogie Nights alum can’t help but praise Spencer for her commitment and dedication in losing weight. “It’s 5:24, I’ve gotten hundreds of requests from very, very close and dear friends about coming over, working out with us and joining the 4 a.m. club,” Wahlberg says, referring to his early-bird workout group. Turning to the Oscar-winning actress, he gushed, “This one [was the] first one to show up, shows up at 3:30 and puts in the work with Brian like no one has ever seen. I am so impressed. Oh, wow … talk about an inspiration.”

“I really am so impressed, you know what? You are really an inspiration. Talking about everything she’s going to accomplish, she went out there and made it happen and this is just another extension of that,” he continued in the Instagram video, posted on September 24. “You are a true champion.”

To check out Spencer’s weight-loss transformation, follow her on Instagram here.

Us Weekly

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‘KUWTK’: Kylie Jenner Confesses She’s Feeling ‘Insecure’ About Her Body After Giving Birth — Watch

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Prince Harry Double Hand Holding With Meghan Markle Shows ‘True Love’ — Body Language Expert Explains

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Gordon, Gino & Fred: Road Trip viewers in hysterics as Gino rubs his naked body up against Gordon’s on a nudist beach

GINO D’Acampo infuriated his co-star Gordon Ramsay by rubbing his naked body up against him during tonight’s episode of Gordon, Gino & Fred: Road Trip.

The celebrity chef wound up Gordon by pulling him in for a hug when he was only wearing his birthday suit, much to the amusement of viewers.

Gino D’Acampo thrilled viewers when he stripped off on a nudist beach during tonight’s episode of Gordon, Gino & Fred: Road Trip
But Gordon Ramsay wasn’t as amused

It happened after Gordon and Fred Siriex accidentally swam up to a nudist beach during filming.

Fred called Gordon uptight as he admitted he didn’t feel comfortable seeing so many naked bodies around him.

Seconds later, Gino ran out from behind a wall and revealed he was in the buff.

As Fred laughed, Gordon begged him to put his clothes back on.

He grimaced as Gino rubbed his naked body up against him

Ignoring him, Gino grabbed him and pulled him in for a group hug.

Gordon grimaced and told Gino he could feel his penis rubbing up against him, leaving fans crying with laughter.

One tweeted: “Oh my God!!!! Trust @Ginofantastico to turn naked! Gordon’s face and reaction was priceless!”

Another said: “In stitches again this week!! @GordonRamsay @Ginofantastico and @fredsirieix1 are amazing together!!”

Fans said they were crying with laughter as they watched the episode

While a third commented: “I’ve never laughed so much at Gino walking naked onto the nudist beach.”

The series has already proved incredibly popular, with millions tuning in to watch the trio travelling through Italy, France and the UK to discover the best food and drink on offer.


When asked about seeing Gino naked on the beach, Gordon admitted: “It was an amazing trip, but we did push each other to the limits and tested our nerves!”

The trio are already planning a second series of the hit ITV show and are hoping to travel the world.

Gino explained: “We’d love to do another trip.

“Fred wants to go to Jamaica, Gordon wants to take us to Las Vegas and I want to take them to Hong Kong!”


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Feet Don’t Lie! An Expert’s Tips on Reading Body Language

One look at how people are standing and Linda Clemons can tell the type of work they’d be best at and the outlook they typically bring to what they do. She can scan a room and spot the risk-taker, the decision maker, the most likely to be biased or to succeed.

Fake it til’ you make it? Not around Clemons. She can call out a crafty liar, even if they don’t utter a word.

The CEO of Indianapolis-based Sisterpreneur Inc., is a body language expert, certified in undercover surveillance tactics she uses to benefit clients from Southwest Airlines, Nestlé, and Major League Baseball to U.S. Customs and the FBI.

reading body language

Body language expert Linda Clemons

Petite and unassuming, she also consults with lawyers on jury selection and Fortune 500 clients seeking competitive advantages for their sales teams.

The ability to seamlessly blend into a room is a job requirement, but hand Clemons a mic and she transforms into her own version of Beyoncé’s alter ego Sasha Fierce. Entertaining and on-point in her ability to connect with audiences of all ages and backgrounds, she will have you in stitches, even as she goes about the very serious work of schooling you on the nonverbal cues that are the most telling, and useful.

Here are her top three tips on reading body language:

Feet don’t lie. The eyes may be the window to the soul but, in non-verbal communication, the most illuminating cues happen south of the face. Feet, for example, point in the direction that we really want to go. Have you ever been in a networking situation and you’re in a circle and all of a sudden someone’s foot turns out even though they seem engaged? Says Clemons: “They’re ready to get up out of there.”

Even in silence, the mouth says a lot. Biting a bottom lip or pressing the mouth together is a sure signal of holding back. Clemons explains, “It’s what you automatically do in a meeting when somebody says something and you think to yourself, `That is absolutely cray-cray.’ Then you’re asked what you think and your first response is lip compression.”

Mastering eye contact is tricky. Yes, eye contact matters and “Don’t be the first to look down,” says Clemons, “because that signifies defeat or submissiveness.” Her secret for winning at the steady-gaze game? Rather than look directly into the eyes, look slightly above the brow line. It’s easier to hold that gaze and not look away, but the effect is the same.

The post Feet Don’t Lie! An Expert’s Tips on Reading Body Language appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Netherlands officials say they caught Russian spies targeting chemical weapons body

Western governments mounted an unprecedented and coordinated fightback Thursday against “brazen” attempts by Russia to meddle in international affairs, publicly unmasking alleged intelligence agents and blaming Moscow for a series of audacious cyberattacks.


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