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Five Kinds of Exercises that Will Help You Achieve A Ballerina Body

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Five Kinds of Exercises that Will Help You Achieve A Ballerina Body

Three of Ballet Manila’s top ballerinas share their secrets in keeping their figures in tiptop shape


Long and slender, flexible and graceful yet strong. If there was ever one body type all girls wish they could have, that would be a ballerina’s. But achieving such a flawless figure does not come easy. After all, ballerinas train for years, six to seven days a week, at least six hours per day to get bodies that work so well both aesthetically and functionally.

Photo by Glyszah Marie Ching
(Photo by Glyszah Marie Ching)

Here’s the good news. There are simple exercises you can to do at home to help you get a similar looking body. Three of Ballet Manila’s ballerinas for The Swan, The Fairy, & The Princess (which by the way, goes on stage from October 14 to 16) share simple hacks that can help you sculpt and tone your way to a lean yet graceful physique.

1. Five kinds of stretches—“Stretches are very important because they elongate everything and helps you feel lighter,” shares Abigail Oliveiro who dances as the Swan in the upcoming production that that pays tribute to one of the world’s most distinguished composers of all time, Peter Tchaikovsky. “Doing hamstring stretches, arm stretches, back stretches, waist stretches and frog stretches every day will help you get a more fluid looking figure and will help you move with so much ease.”

Katherine Barkman

2. Core exercises—“Planks, including side planks, sit-ups, leg raises and crunches are all very important for anyone who wants to get a ballerina figure. Core exercises not only help you get a flat tummy, they also help stabilize your core, which is very important when moving. When you do these exercises regularly, you will have a much easier time going from one movement to another,” adds Oliveiro.Katherine Barkman

3. Leg toning exercises—“Plies and squats help make legs more slender and stronger,” says Katherine Barkman, a principal dancer of the company.“Two to three sets per day make all the difference and does not take a lot of time at all. You can do it in the morning after your stretches. Doing so can also give you more energy to start your day.” Katherine plays Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty.

Photo by Larry Salgado
Photo by Larry Salgado

4. Arm and back strengthening exercises—“One good exercise people can do to get ballerina arms is to just hold them out in semi-circle, right in front of their chest as if they were holding a large basket and count to 20. Afterwards, they can move their arms to both sides and just start lifting and dropping them in a controlled manner for 20 counts or more. What’s important is that they never rest their arms or allow them to completely drop during this time,” adds Barkman.

This works not just the muscles on the arms but at the back as well, which what gives ballerinas such long and slender arms.”

(Photo by Katherine Barkman)

5. Spinal rocking—“I do spinal rocking four times every day to help keep my spine flexible and improve my posture,” says Dawna Mangahas who dances as the Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker. “You just need to lay down, bend your knees and your head together, then start rocking for twenty seconds. I find that it relaxes my muscles as well and makes it easier for me to move around and keep a straight posture.”

The Swan, The Fairy and The Princess goes on stage on October 14 and 15 at 8:00 p.m., and on October 16 at 3:00 p.m at the Aliw Theater in Pasay City. It is co-presented by the Manila Broadcasting Company, Star City, and Aliw Theater. Other sponsors include ACS Manufacturing Corporation, First United Corporation, Papa John’s Pizza, Hot Star Chicken, Oasis Paco Park Hotel, Microtel Wyndham Hotels, Island Rose, and Philcom.


Abigail Oliveiro – Ballet Manila Company Artist (Photo by Glyszah Marie Ching)
Dawna Mangahas - Ballet Manila Principal Dancer
Dawna Mangahas – Ballet Manila Principal Dancer
Katherine Barkman - Ballet Manila Principal Dancer Photo by Miguel Antonio Gonzales
Katherine Barkman – Ballet Manila Principal Dancer
Photo by Miguel Antonio Gonzales