Health & Body

Our 7 Favorite Dancer Workouts on YouTube

Dancers know they need to cross-train. But sometimes the last thing you want to do is trek to the gym, or throw down 30 bucks for another Pilates class.

That's where YouTube comes to the rescue. Of course, an online video can't offer the specialized guidance of an in-person instructor. But with virtually no equipment needed, these seven dancer-approved options are a super convenient way to fit in a workout right in your living room—for free.

Kathryn Morgan's Pilates Class

Length: 20 minutes

Best For: Serious core strengthening. Former New York City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan knows exactly what it takes to build the kind of center that dancers need. While demonstrating, she also warns about common errors dancers make when performing the exercises (she knows our bad habits all too well).

Warning: She leaves little rest for the weary between exercises. Be prepared to sweat.

Extension & Developpé Builder

Length: 29 minutes

Best For: Improving your extensions. This workout strengthens and stretches virtually all the muscles involved in developpés, from your core to your glutes and hamstrings. Largely based on a traditional floor barre, the workout is done on your back and knees, with one section that moves in and out of a plank.

Bonus: The trainer, Alessia Lugoboni, is a former Royal New Zealand Ballet dancer, and her Lazy Dancer Tips channel is stocked with all kinds of workout videos for dancers (or those who want to look like them).

New York City Ballet Workout

Length: 60 minutes

Best For: A full-body, ballet-based sweat session. This video distills a traditional ballet class down to a stationary workout done entirely without a barre. It was designed in collaboration with New York Sports Club to strengthen the body using classical dance movements.

But, Wait: Yes, that's Peter Martins narrating the exercises. This oldie but goodie is a classic from 2001. Dancers have sworn by this video and its sequel for years.

Yoga For Dancers

Length: 24 minutes

Best For: Stretching out and strengthening your core, upper body and glutes. This trainer adds in plenty of balance challenges, too, making it a great well-rounded option when you're on layoff.

Our Favorite Part: The dog lounging in the background offers some seriously relaxing summer chill-out vibes.

Agility Workout

Length: 20 minutes

Best For: Working on balance and coordination. This class is built around a small circle—which you can create with a jump rope, a yoga strap or even a series of pencils—to challenge your agility with fast footwork, small jumps and balances. Bonus: The cardio component will also boost your stamina.

We Know: Some of the exercises look a little silly, but trust us, they're killer.

Plyometric Drills

Length: 12 minutes

Best For: Increasing the power and height of your jumps. All kinds of athletes swear by plyometrics to increase their power and jump height. These drills may seem basic, but they can produce real results.

Disclaimer: Make sure you warm up first, and have a sturdy chair or bench handy.

Equipment-Free Arm Toners

Length: 4 minutes

Best For: Strengthening your arms without dumbbells. If you don't have access to any equipment, these simple exercise offer a quick but effective substitute.

Why We Love It: Because you can feel the burn and finish up in less than five minutes.

The Conversation
Career Advice
Tony Testa leads a rehearsal during his USC New Movement Residency. Photo by Mary Mallaney/Courtesy USC

The massive scale of choreographing an Olympic opening ceremony really has no equivalent. The hundreds of performers, the deeply historic rituals and the worldwide audience and significance make it a project like no other.

Just consider the timeline: For most live TV events like award shows, choreographers usually take a month or two to put everything together. For the Olympics, the process can take up to four years.

But this kind of challenge is exactly what Los Angeles choreographer Tony Testa is looking for. He's currently creating a submission to throw his hat in the ring to choreograph for Beijing's 2022 Winter Games.

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Cover Story
Photo by Jayme Thornton

In a studio high above Lincoln Center, Taylor Stanley is rehearsing a solo from Jerome Robbins' Opus 19/The Dreamer. As the pianist plays Prokofiev's plangent melody, Stanley begins to move, his arms forming crisp, clean lines while his upper body twists and melts from one position to the next.

All you see is intention and arrival, without a residue of superfluous movement. The ballet seems to depict a man searching for something, struggling against forces within himself. Stanley doesn't oversell the struggle—in fact he's quite low-key—but the clarity with which he executes the choreography draws you in.

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