Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Of Bellying up to the Barre and a Book

January should be dubbed the month of the hybrid exercise class. Repentant, the Lululemon-wrapped holiday transgressors queue up, tails betwixt sculpted calves, to sweat off a season of overindulgence. Wise to the ruse of resolutions yet to go awry, health clubs swiftly rise to the challenge and so a family of strange, cross-pollinated crossover classes emerge from the hydroponic closet. Exotics all, Yogilates, Cardioga, Sensuale, and Urban Rebounding are alien amalgamations that like Tofurkey, were never intended to fuse in nature.
And so Nero joined the hoards for Barre Code, a variation on the massively popular barre classes currently sweeping the nation. The fury of bouncing back into last month's jeans sends the flock stampeding into the limited-occupancy studio. It's a mini-raid where cordial niceties are shed as quickly as the name-brand hoodies with thumbhole sleeves. Standing four to a floating barre, there's nothing friendly about avoiding a broken nose or spewing sweat on a neighbor who's already too close for comfort.  Lemmings in leggings, no gym class heroes are we. Au contraire, we pups fall prey to all the new tricks, freshly-minted gimmicks, because a body can only bend in so many new ways. For the sake of closing the sale, a classic plié is conveniently dubbed a "squat" or a "lunge," then conversely, an awkward tiptoe shuffle graduates to the ranks of a relevé. 
For those fair readers who have yet to experience this sort of self-induced stigmata firsthand, there is nothing quite so absurd as a room full of predominantly white women engaged in pelvic thrusts and other similar gyrations, all nervously giggling while commands such as "Grab Your Balls!" and "Squeeze!" echo over a pulsating playlist. In all honesty, Nero thinks it likely that even the great Martha Graham would turn in her grave were she to see what's become of ballet these days. But all bastardizations aside, the room was packed to the gills and we all sweated good 'n plenty, which is after all, the point. That said, these chicken coop antics leave Nero livid and flushed with a special strain of avian flu. Nero will of course be returning to the fold on Friday, reluctantly but perhaps with sharpened talons and a more threateningly coiffed tailfeather. 
No doubt many of you Nerophytes would rather ready yourselves in other less carnal ways for carnival in Rio or not-so-fat Tuesday in NOLA. Fortunately there is always the exercise of the mind to fall back on. Just in case the Barre Code classes leave Nero all rung up and strung out, this gripping book -- "Babylon Rolling" -- (written by a former trapeze artist turned professor, who surely did her time contorted and en pointe), is proving to be the perfect backup plan. Strategically set in New Orleans, the intermingled lives, libidos and lingos of the characters weave the kind of rhythmic tale Nero would much rather bounce to. In fact, the whole experience is making this blogger want to wander through the French Quarter after dark with a mouthful of hand-rolled cigars and homemade pralines, and a switchblade in hand. But shhh, please don't tell the Barre Code instructor I said so.


Moomser said...

Sounds positively terrifying!

anita said...

I need a new book -- thanks for the rec.
(I need a new fitness routine, too, but alas that hasn't happened yet.)

La Maison Boheme said...

I haven't approached the barre, but I have been the chaturanga queen at my yoga class this week. Love your post!

Alcira Molina-Ali said...

Ciao Moomser,

It was more frustrating than terrifying, but yes, there was a little fight or flight involved.


Alcira Molina-Ali said...

Dearest Anita,

I wrapped "Babylon" up very quickly -- a great, mesmerizing, rhythmic read.

Enjoy, Alcira

Alcira Molina-Ali said...

Dear Maison Mama,

How you do all you do baffles and awes me ;)
Keep up the down dogs!

Cheers, Alcira


Urban flâneuse, armchair observer, absent-minded scribbler, occasional epicure and carpool line cultural attaché, my nom de plume is Nero. Join me as I catalog a compilation of earthly delights and stuff that I dig. Alcira Molina-Ali



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