All you need is a computer with a camera, a small amount of space, and Skype and you too can become a prima ballerina. The New York City Ballet dancer who trained Natalie Portman for "The Black Swan" is now offering online ballet classes.
The private or group Ballet Beautiful classes with Mary Helen Bowers cost about $40 dollars for a 60-minute class. A 90-minute ballet class at most studios in-person costs about $17. So why would anyone want to pay more than double the price for the class? Many students cite privacy, the ease of not commuting to class, and the opportunity for an out of shape ballet student to avoid standing next to a graceful 90-pound dancer.
Ballet teacher Mary Helen Bowers says her classes target specific muscles to help students achieve that ballet dancer body. "The muscles that ballet dancers use are specific to ballet. That's why ballet dancers have such a specific body type," Bowers told the Wall Street Journal.
Bowers says she started using the Web for her workouts in 2008 when she headed to Los Angeles to work with Natalie Portman. During the peak of her training with Portman Bowers says they were working out five hours a day, six days a week.
Bowers is developing a video that can be purchased and accessed online via computer or devices such as an iPod Touch. "If you are not at home or traveling, you are still able to log in and take the workout," Bowers told the Wall Street Journal.
The Ballet Beautiful classes are an example of how Skype and other technologies are shaping learning opportunities.