Participants in an Allongee class, a 'ballet boot camp' exercise created by a Philly trainer. (Courtesy of Allongee Old City)

I’m not the most physically coordinated person.

So it made perfect sense to start my first Allongée experience with the newest, hardest class the boutique exercise space offers, SOAR!, which takes the regular ballet/barre class and elevates it onto a personal-sized trampoline.

Allongée combines strength training for the small muscle groups (like in ballet or barre class) with a large range of movement in the high-energy, low-impact CardioBarre technique. Fortunately, I am a yoga lover so some of the same movements seemed to transition well.

Tiny and taut founder and Allongée creator Jillian Dreusike met us outside in the alley for the 11:30 a.m. weekday class on Bodine Street (across from the Old City Beer Garden) and let us in to the studio space on the second floor, complete with a shower and slipless socks for sale.

 

With water for sale ($1 each), we hydrated, filled our reusable bottles, put on our grippy socks and got into our trampoline space with a mirror in front to watch as we made fools of ourselves. I chose the spot right next to Jill for maximum what-am-I-doing purposes, and soon we were bouncing.

Thank goodness for that barre in front of my trampoline, and that the “mirror” is actually made out of mylar, a form of shiny plastic.

At first, I was amazed at how well I could keep up while turning a bright beet red, as usual. We would do football drills with our feet while bouncing. We were doing cheerleading toe touches in the air (some better than others) while not trying to smash our faces in the mirror. I quickly learned not to keep up with the tempo of the pumping music and go at my own pace to save myself from certain cartoon-style bodily harm.

I also learned that doing front, side and back kicks while bouncing is impossible for me with my graceful coordination. So I would hold on to the barre and do baby bounces while targeting the ol’ glutes and legs in a more “normal” manner.

My favorite part was certainly just bouncing up and down as high as you could go during our “resting” phases. It was fun, childlike and exhilarating to almost fall at points. I bounced my way through class and took it easy when I needed to.

Jill encouraged water breaks and warned us we would be sore the next day. I was surprisingly not sore at all afterwards, but my appetite was ravenous. I also dropped a couple pounds as my body responds best to strength training mixed with cardio. Allongée is supposed to “build strength and stamina while also creating length and flawless muscle structure,” and was started as a program to assist dancers with their cardiovascular health.

Don’t want to make an ass out of yourself in public but still curious? This summer, Allongée will expand nationally with an online video library, and pop-up classes will also be held in NYC and Washington, DC.

And I will be back for more since they have 18 different classes under three umbrellas: Sculpt, Sweat! and Hybrid. Although next time, I’m gonna start with grounding myself with the basics on the wood floor.

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