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Element - The Mind & Body Experience - Ballet Conditioning

1 rating: 5.0
A movie

From a beautiful spot overlooking the Pacific coastline, veteran ballet instructor Elise Gulan leads viewers through the classic routines that comprise a ballet dancer's conditioning program. With these unique exercises that work all the body's muscle … see full wiki

Release Date: 2007
MPAA Rating: Unrated
1 review about Element - The Mind & Body Experience - Ballet...

A magnificent workout that combines gracefulness with intense exercise.

  • Aug 7, 2008
Pros: Very effective, deeply works the muscles, scenic, excellent instructor, lengthens and tones muscles

Cons: Will be too intense for beginning exercisers, one high impact jumping segment

The Bottom Line: An amazing workout that will lengthen and tone the legs, lift the butt, flatten the abs, and improve posture and balance. TOUGH but graceful. It all flows so well!

I have recently kicked my exercise routine into high gear and am experimenting with all types of workouts to find the ones that I prefer and that seem to really give me the best bang for my buck. My time is limited and I want to know I really worked out when I am done.

I bought Element the Mind Body Experience - Ballet Conditioning because it was on sale for just $7.49 at Amazon and I thought ballet would be a simple, slow workout for my "easy days".

Wow! It is a slow workout but it is NOT easy by any means. It's a magnificent workout from start to finish.

About the DVD

This DVD was released in December 2007 and has a run time of 51 minutes. The instructor is Elise Gulan who has 18 years experience in ballet, tap, and jazz. She is also an expert in yoga.

This workout requires just a chair for balance. If you have great balance, you need nothing. You may want a mat for the abdominal work although Elise doesn't use one.

The Set

This workout is filmed outside on a sunny day with water and flowers in the background. Sometimes birds fly by behind Elise. It's a serene setting perfect for this workout. Elise is alone on a wooden plank type thing with just a high backed wooden chair. The music is somewhat new age but fits the workout well. Elise voices over the whole workout so you never have to listen to "You got it!" and "That's it!". She has a soothing voice and simply instructs while doing the workout herself. This works well if you want to turn the volume down and listen to your own music. You won't see her lips moving and you can just follow along.

The Workout

The workout starts with a series of stretches to warm the body up. You then go into a series of ballet poses that are super challenging although they look very graceful and simple. Your legs, especially, will feel the very deep muscle work throughout. The chair is there for balance only. If you don't need it, you simply follow along raising and moving both arms rather than just the one not holding onto the chair.

There are several types of leg exercises that are slow and intense. My legs were screaming and I work them every day! The pace gets faster in the middle when Elise switches to jumps. I don't like that segment but I modify so I'm not jumping in the air like she is. It certainly gets the heart rate up and works the legs but I don't think it's great for the knees.

Moving past that short segment is more leg work - all standing.

The abs section is on the floor or mat and is really tough. Although it is slow and measured, it gets deep down into the abdominals and really works them. Mercifully, that section isn't too long.

Stretching follows and some is very challenging. If you're not flexible, just do what you can. You will get more flexible as you use this DVD.

The cool down is a series of soothing and easy stretches that your body will love after such an intense workout.

51 minutes later, your entire body is transformed and you'll feel the work you just did in your legs, butt, abs, and even your arms although there are no specific exercises for the arms on this DVD.

Although this is a tough workout, it's so graceful and narrated so well, that it doesn't really seem as tough as it is. You may not be able to do it all the first or second time but you will eventually build up to doing the entire workout and gaining the strength and flexibility that Elise exhibits.

My Thoughts

I have no ballet experience at all. In fact, I only have done one ballet workout ever and I didn't like it. I think I did it twice. I don't know the lingo and I don't know the poses. So I went into this as a rank beginner in ballet but an intermediate exerciser in general.

Elise is great. She has a soothing way of narrating the workout and adds names of moves that we are doing. She isn't a bubbly cheerleader. She simply explains what you should do, affirms that you will get stronger and be able to do more as time passes, and gives other pointers to make the workout the most efficient it can be.

I thought I was doing an easy little workout and I ended up challenging every muscle in my body! I couldn't believe how such simple looking moves could be so darn intense. The jumping part isn't my cup of tea and I modified so I didn't aggravate my surgically repaired knee. It's a very small part of the workout and it doesn't affect my overall opinion of it. The abs section took all I had to complete but I really felt it deep within my abs. I was so ready for the stretches at the end!

I really like this workout. Although the arms are only worked when they are held up and to the sides during leg work, thy felt sore after. I have no idea why! But it was my legs and butt that really felt the effects of this workout. I was sore for a couple of hours after I completed the workout and then I wanted to do it again! It's that well done and that effective!

The beautiful scenery is such a nice change from the studio workouts I do. The slow, calm pace seems like it wouldn't burn many calories but I burned nearly 300 which, for a non-cardio workout, is pretty darn good! This workout will lengthen and strengthen the leg muscles, firm the butt, tone the abs, and give you more flexibility and stamina.

I am blown away by just how well done this workout is. Elise is the perfect instructor. She does all the poses like the true ballerina that she is and it inspires me to stand up tall, point my toes, and be graceful even though my legs are on fire.

This workout is a real keeper. Along with cardio and sculpting, I am starting to believe I can actually achieve the body I really want at home with no fancy machines.

Buying Info

Element the Mind Body Experience - Ballet Conditioning is on sale at Amazon for half price at this writing as a special fitness promotion. They also have Elements Yoga for Beginners which I just ordered on sale. This DVD is available wherever workout and fitness DVDs are sold on and offline. The regular price is around $12.99 to $14.99.


I expected a light, fluffy workout and got one of the best deep muscle workouts I have ever done. Element the Mind Body Experience - Ballet Conditioning is beautifully presented and does everything right. I do think the jumping is a bit much and a modification should be shown but otherwise, this workout really kicks my butt. Those who are not flexible or who are just starting out should buy a beginner's ballet workout before trying this one. Although I am a beginning ballet exerciser, I workout daily and have the strength and balance to get through this without a primer.

Still, I was very surprised at how challenging the workout was yet how graceful and fluid it was. There are no breaks at all to "shake out the legs" or get water so, if you find yourself fatigued, pause the DVD, rest, and then continue. There is no one right way to do this workout. Just follow the cues, stand straight and tall, and have enough room around you to extend your legs. Then enjoy the benefits you get from Element the Mind Body Experience - Ballet Conditioning. 5 stars. I love it even with the jumping segment.


Viewing Format: DVD

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