Extension Room is Toronto’s destination for ballet classes and training for both seasoned ballerina types and newbies alike, and I’ll give you one guess which category I fall into! In addition to offering a slew of traditional classic ballet instructional classes, owner and instructor Jennifer Nichols bridges the gap for clumsy flat-footed fitness enthusiasts such as yours truly, aiming to level the playing field and inject a little love for ballet into everyone who walks through her airy downtown studio.
Stepping firmly out of my comfort zone, I donned my best studio wraps and squeezed into one of Jenn’s sold out classes. Parceled out into levels, from Absolute Beginner Ballet, Pointe, Développé Ballet Sculpt, Allegro Ballet Bootcamp to Pilates and Barre classes, the schedule is broken down into ability and interests, including private coaching for ballet or pointe.
And there’s arguably no one more qualified to coach you into those ballet slippers than Jenn. She is a professional dancer and choreographer working on stage and behind the scenes, either preforming herself, or instructing others both for the grand stage or silver screen. Her CV reads like an impressive list of someone much older than she is, clearly her dedication to her craft has paid off. Also, #bodygoals. Her long and lean limbs and super strong core inspire me to dig deep, I don’t know a pirouette from a plie.
But happily, I don’t need to. Her ultra-inclusive classes bring together a collective of like-minded dancers with abilities ranging from toddler-esque (me) to semi-pro (everyone else). While I awkwardly tried to keep up with all the elegant and graceful moves, it suddenly struck me- I’m actually working my brain just as hard as my body, translating the inverted images from the mirror, flipping them in my head mid-motion as to not land ass-backwards or worse in front of these ballerina babes. In any new fitness class don’t we all suffer the same ‘oh crap I’m doing it wrong’ moments? As I get older, wiser and more accepting of my flaws I seem to now be seeking these classes out. We all end up hitting a plateau in one way or another, here I took two barrels of it, both my mind and body were struggling to keep up, but in the end, it felt like I had truly accomplished something noteworthy, not just another series of squats or another rep of weights.
Instead of staying in my comfort zone, going to the same bootcamp or spinning class I was encouraged by my other ballerina babes, those who saw me and remembered their first class, those who high-fived me and asked when I’ll be back. And even though I always had dreams of being a Fly Girl, at least I now know the difference between a plie and a pirouette.
Thanks to Extension Room for having me out! Find out more about Jenn, her Extension Method workouts and schedule here.
Have you tried a fitness class that left you breathless? Let us know in the comments below!