Where: Joffrey Ballet School, 434 Ave of the Americas, 3rd Floor, New York, NY
Lastics with Donna: An Hour of Stretching, Heavy on the Forward Bends
When I saw an offer for a free trial class - advertised as 60 full minutes of stretching - you didn't have to ask me twice. I love to stretch, and I love free shit. Plus it was being held at the Joffrey Ballet school, and I have a complicated love/hate relationship with ballerinas. So I went.
[Click here to review Donna's class yourself, or check out her RateYourBurn profile here.]
- Donna's very in-your-face. This is her method, and she's doin' it.
- Donna has a pretty face.
- She will absolutely correct your form. Many times. There was no point during the class when she was not correcting someone's form.
The day I went, there were a lot of students who were there from the free class offer on facebook, but over half of the class was regulars.
The regulars were older and quirky. They reminded me of my rent-controlled downstairs neighbor. One adorable old lady with a wild tuft of white hair was going about how her American-born nephew lives in Hungary, refuses to learn Hungarian, and posts offensive things on facebook because "he's trying to be funny".
The newbies were young professionals.
On the class:
I really like the idea of this class, because I love to stretch - but the reason it was a 3 for me was because of the intense focus on forward-bending movements, which feel precarious to someone with a bulging disc. Donna did pay a lot of attention to me to help me modify, but there was such a heavy focus on spine flexion that there wasn't too much she could do, short of adapting the whole class for one person. Here's the class structure:
- Arm stretches – tricep, bicep, shoulder, etc.
- Lots of forward bending. In standing forward bends, we played with rounding and arching, wrapping arms around the back of the knees, holding elbows and swinging, bending and stretching, etc.
- We moved to the floor for some creative hamstring stretches, more forward bends, and wide-leg forward folds.
- After a few more standing forward bends, we rolled onto our backs for some final hamstring stretches and twists.
The time flew by.
Note on Joffrey:
I'm not sure where the following video is from, but our room definitely did NOT look like this. It's a dance school, not a high-end studio for ladies-who-lunch. This is a place where income-less ballerinas pay to get their toes permanently damaged by angry men with intense foreign accents. Note: the previous comment is based solely on the movies "Black Swan" and "Step Up", not on any actual facts or empirical evidence.
Also based a little bit on my continued bitterness at getting kicked out of ballet school at age 4 for biting.
Active stretching is hard! It really burns when you put your mind to it.
If you're tight, or you love to stretch and have no back issues, this could be a cool class for you.
From the Joffrey Ballet School website: Donna Flagg’s life has been spent studying movement. Much of that training was received in classical dance techniques born from the masters in the field. Most of her ballet education was in Cecchetti, but throughout her childhood she was also taught from the syllabus of The Royal Academy of Ballet. For modern dance, Donna has been schooled in the techniques of Martha Graham, José Limón and Lester Horton; and in jazz her concentration was primarily Matt Mattox, although she also spent time under the tutelage of Phil Black, Chuck Kelly, Jo Jo Smith and Luigi.Calling upon this varied experience, Donna has created Lastics®, a stretching technique that reconstructs the flexibility that dancers have, and from which they all work. Lastics® releases tension, increases flexibility and stimulates circulation by teaching people how to articulate their bodies in ways that stretch and elongate muscles from end-to-end simultaneously. Working the body in this way is a fundamental of all dance techniques.Donna comes out of the Philadelphia University of the Arts where she performed the works of Jose Meier, Barbara Sandonato, Donald Lunsford, Peter Bertini and Tobin James. She also studied under, and performed for, Yvonne Scudiery and Jennifer Church of The Academy of Dance Arts and Bob and Rosemary Boross, Co-Directors of New Jersey Dance Center. In addition, Donna danced with Impact Dance Company in New York City where she also taught their company class. She has a BA in Dance from Rutgers University and is currently a faculty member at The Joffrey Ballet School. She also teaches at New York Health and Racquet Club.
Find out more about Joffrey Ballet School at www.joffreyballetschool.com
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Read more about Donna on Psychology Today and in an iPhone App Review