Travel Fit: Ballerina for a Day

With travel come the joys of new and exciting flavors, daring escapades, and enchanting encounters. This takes a toll on the mind and body so I thought it would be great to address the topic of staying fit for your travels and when you get home. This series will explore different activities in different locales that will challenge your fitness levels, get your blood flowing and help you keep up with your health goals so you won’t need to worry or feel guilty about that incredible dessert you want to try or the extra champagne to tickle your nose. We’ll also get a fitness pro’s look into yummy eating with their favorite recipe shared with Wine + Food Travel.

After watching movies like The Red Shoes, Center Stage and Black Swan one can’t help but notice the connecting thread of all the actors–rock hard bodies, a killer work ethic, impeccable grace. I imagine the training that would go into preparing for a movie like this would be something akin to boot camp but on pointe shoes. So, of course I decided to try it for myself.  Growing up, I took my share of ballet classes and though I greatly enjoyed the tutus and stage makeup, I couldn’t help but shake the feeling that ballet as an adult would be wholly dissimilar if not utterly painful (no pain, no gain, right?) But we trudge on.

The black box studio of Del Mar Ballet, San Diego had everything I expected–the ballet barre, full-length mirrors, gaffer’s tape on the shiny black floor and one thing I did not, a community of people of all ages and all abilities just begging for a ballet workout. This NY City Ballet Workout class led by Robyn Shifren is an hour-long block of barre work concentrating on the legs, core, arms, and posture… basically everything I happily forget about while tearing into my third course at a fabulous French bistot a vins. But my muscles remember. They feel the searing heat each time we’re asked to raise our legs, oh so carefully pointed to waist high and S-L-O-W-L-Y lowered back down to the floor.  Fifteen minutes in and I wonder if I’m in a hot yoga class;  it’s a lovely torment. This is followed by more exercises focusing on isolated muscle groups and then the choice of learning a choreographed routine or a core workout on yoga mats with weights. The class votes weights and we are on the floor working our arms, abs, back and stretching legs that have too long sat at a desk. I look around the room and see smiling faces. Why are they smiling? I wonder to myself, but Robyn’s cheerful, and constantly encouraging manner  answers my question all too quickly.  The teacher, who has performed in her native South Africa and in London, has overcome a debilitating car accident through ballet and shows a contagious love for life. By the end of the class my muscles ached that delicious painful burn, my hair was plastered to my face, and I couldn’t wait to return to her Friday, “more ballet-heavy” class for more.  Bring on the dessert and whatever flight it might take to get there!

Del Mar Ballet

11211 Sorrento Valley Road, Ste T

San Diego, CA 92121

858-320-0033 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 858-320-0033 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Adult Ballet or NY City Ballet Workout Classes start at $15.

No strict dress code. Just wear something comfortable for the workout.

Robyn's Favorite Root Veg and Butternut Salad. Healthy and Delicious!

Robyn’s Favorite Root Veg and Butternut Salad

1 ½ kg butternut diced and roasted (To roast, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle 2 crushed veg cubes. Roast about ½ hr.)

1 Spring onion chopped

Handful of Roasted almonds

Chopped parsley (to taste)


½ cup oil

½ cup white wine vinegar

4 tbs. brown sugar

½ cup mayo

1 tsp salt

1 tsp whole grain mustard

¼ tsp crushed garlic

4-5 drops Tabasco sauce

Katherine Hsia

Known affectionately as "the wandering concierge," Katherine segued a hospitality career in fabulous New York City into a life pursuing her passions of writing, adventure and travel on the spectacular island of O'ahu. She is a freelance writer for publications such as Honolulu Magazine, Hawai'i Parent, Freesurf, and more, while working on her Hawaiian comic and non-fiction book. She enjoys seeing life for its whimsical beauty, great meals with good friends, her love affair with travel, and being overstimulated by new experiences. Want to get in touch with Kat? Add her on facebook or send her a message on her website,, where she's been known to get her blog on.

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