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.

Courtesy Macy's, Inc.

As you're prepping your Thanksgiving meal, why not throw in a dash of dance?

This year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is stuffed (pun intended) with performances from four stellar Broadway shows, the Radio City Rockettes and students from three New York City dance institutions.

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Ailey II artistic director Troy Powell teaching an Ailey Workshop at NYCDA. Courtesy NYCDA

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"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."

Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.

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Sergei Polunin. Photo by British Broadcasting Corporation and Polunin Ltd., Courtesy Sundance Selects.

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I cannot be the only person wondering why we should care.

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Sponsored by Harlequin Floors
Left: Hurricane Harvey damage in Houston Ballet's Dance Lab; Courtesy Harlequin. Right: The Dance Lab pre-Harvey; Nic Lehoux, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.

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