The mother-daughter co-founders of Chaise 23 have super-athletic backgrounds: Lauren Piskin’s a former competitive figure skater, and her daughter, Rachel, is a former New York City ballet dancer. And the studio’s newest class, Ballet Bungee, showcases Rachel’s prowess en pointe. “I’ve spent my whole life as a dancer, so why not use what I know to create this class?” she says.
Most of class takes place not at the barre, but in the center of the room, with your hands holding onto the overhead “bungees,” the studio’s own version of resistance bands. Piskin leads you through a sequence of ballet poses, from plies to releves, with coordinating arm movements. Just like in Chaise’s other classes, the bungees add a welcome strength element and increase the sweat factor. And holding on while working your legs and glutes is a challenge.
Toward the end of class, you’ll pull a mat up to the wall and do crunch variations with your feet against the wall—with your hands still in the bungees. We ended with a tough plank sequence that involved mountain climbers.
Overall, it’s the most ballet-focused fitness class we’ve seen (Piskin doesn’t water down the terminology, either), which made it fun for those of us who, ahem, were not graceful enough for the real thing.
The moves require a ton of core stabilization and balance and are harder to execute than in most barre classes. But there isn’t as much painful repetition—as in, my quads weren’t shaking uncontrollably like they do at Physique 57. I did feel like if I kept it up, however, I’d soon be moving through the city with a lot more poise and grace. —Lisa Elaine Held
Who’s it for: Clumsy workout types who want to get toned and graceful; former dancers; barre-flies who want to mix it up
Chaise 23, 40 East 23rd Street, between Park and Madison, Flatiron, $30/single class, www.chaise23.com