What is Ballet-lates®?
Ballet-lates® connects the natural grace and flow of ballet with Pilates based-exercises to create a strong way of carrying oneself in the studio and in life. It is ideal for participants of any age or background intent on harnessing the joy of movement. Each Ballet-lates® class combines 20 minutes of Pilates mat exercises with 20 minutes of exercises standing at the barre, followed by 15-20 minutes of simple exercises, inspired by or taken directly from classical ballet, all set to classical music. Ballet-lates unleashes our inner grace and strength and transforms how we carry ourselves. Ballet-lates® allows anyone who tries it to Get Strong. Gracefully.
Little girls dream of becoming ballerinas from an early age. Maybe it’s the sparkly tutus that resonate, or pictures of ballerinas soaring through the air, as if they can fly. Ballet captivated me from the age of 5, and while the initial attraction may have been the shimmering purple outfit my grandmother made for me, I soon became enchanted by the way ballet brought me in touch with how hard my muscles worked.
Later during my most intense ballet training at the Fort Worth School of Ballet in Texas, my two teachers, Nanette Glushak from New York City Ballet and Michel Rahn from the Conservatoire National in Lyon, France, were obsessed with proper technique. Those years of ballet training unknowingly set the cornerstone for what would later become Ballet-lates.
In my late 20s once I stopped performing I tried a few Pilates sessions. They deepened my understanding of the ballet movements I had been doing for years and activated all the muscles I had used as a dancer. They made my ballet movements stronger and more graceful and I went on to train as a Pilates instructor.
Today the connection between ballet and Pilates has become so close that it’s unusual for any major ballet company to be missing Pilates as part of its regime. Only when I moved to Ireland, a country lacking a strong ballet infrastructure, did my own reason for merging Pilates and ballet come together.
After setting up Dublin-based D4 Pilates, clients in my own Pilates classes persistently began asking about my ballet background, and for fun I demonstrated a few steps. I wasn’t trying to present myself as a dancer, but inevitably it crept into how I taught. I knew some of my clients had taken ballet lessons as a child, and they still wanted to move in a more graceful way, not just in the studio but in daily life. I decided to create a fun atmosphere for merging ballet and Pilates-based exercises, which became Ballet-lates.
By linking these exercises together in a structured way that logically warms up the body, Ballet-lates® movements build up gracefully and with a natural rhythm and flow. It creates a system of natural grace and flow that can be carried into daily life.
About the Founder
Christie Seaver began dancing at the age of five and hasn’t stopped since. She trained in the US with Nanette Glushak and Michel Rahn at the Fort Worth School of Ballet, as well as under Anna-Marie Holmes at Boston Ballet School and with Margot Parsons in Boston.
Christie’s love of dance led her into dance criticism, and following a degree in journalism from Boston University, she worked as a full-time dance critic for the Boston Herald and freelanced for the New York Times, the Dallas Morning News, DanceMagazine and many others.
In 2004 she qualified as a Pilates instructor, and that year she received a New York Times/National Endowment for the Arts fellowship to study criticism at Duke University, where she met her Irish husband and subsequently moved to Dublin. As a way to stay connected to her performing background while living away from the choreographers she knew, in 2007 Christie launched D4 Pilates, offering private Reformer sessions and group mat classes to clients looking to fit wellness into their busy lifestyles.
Soon her clients began asking about her ballet background, curious to try a few ballet moves themselves. That is when Ballet-lates® was born. Christie created Ballet-lates® as a way to combine the strength of Pilates-based exercises with the elegance and grace of ballet into a movement suited to anyone with a willingness to try. The inaugural Ballet-lates® class is still together.
In addition to running D4 Pilates, Christie also developed the PocketPilatesApp, a mobile Pilates app for clients on the go, which has been downloaded in more than 100 countries. When not in the studio or writing about ballet for The Irish Times, she travels and spends time with her husband and two young children.