What is it?The creator of ballet fusion, Alex Rees, describes the exercise as 'a body conditioning class that has very basic ballet training in it'. She says she has taken the flexibility training, postural awareness and breathing techniques from traditional ballet and combined them with more common exercises.
Where is it from?Alex has a background in dance and is currently teaching students at the English National Ballet School in London. She is now training instructors to teach ballet fusion lessons at Esporta health clubs around the UK.
Why is it better than one exercise?Alex says she developed ballet fusion to combine the artistry of dance with the athleticism of fitness. The conditioning class is designed to improve strength, skill and suppleness and can be adapted to suit all fitness levels.
Lessons would begin with a warm up - like a body conditioning class - and then move on to working specific body areas. For example, to tone up your bottom, hips and thighs, students would be taught how to do a plié, which is like a squat, and a relevé where you rise up onto your toes, pulling your legs together and tightening your buttocks.
You will do more repetitions than a traditional ballet class and throughout the lesson the instructor will teach you how to hold help students progress to more difficult postures.
Who is it most suitable for?
Students are not expected to know how to do pirouettes or advanced ballet moves so it is suitable for beginners. Your instructor will use the French terms for the moves but will explain them thoroughly in English, but teachers do not have to use the original French names at all if students are uncomfortable.
The traditional image of a young slim ballet dancer is not a requirement of the course, although Alex says an interest in ballet would be useful.
What is it?
Billed as 'the ultimate work out' Thai Fit combines elements of kick boxing, Thai kick boxing and aerobics into one exercise plan. It is a very dynamic workout and instructors claim you can burn between 1,500 and 2,000 calories in one Thai Fit session.
Where is it from?
Thai Fit has been adapted from the Darli system - a freestyle kick-boxing martial art that originated in South America - to use the nine 'weapons' of the body: two feet, two knees, two hands, two elbows and the head. The lesson is divided into two sections.
The first part of the lesson is set to music, like aerobics, but you are performing kick boxing moves instead. The second half of the lesson is a more traditional training session using kick pads and boxing techniques.
Why is it better than one exercise?
During traditional boxing training and other martial arts, instructors would spend a long time training individual students in the correct moves. 'This could be affecting other students in the class,' says Thai Fit instructor Mo Kargeo. 'So we simplified the moves and set it to music so everyone is working.'
Thai Fit is a very strenuous workout. 'It is a good way to get out aggression,' says Mo. 'We also teach Thai Fit as part of a stress-management programme.' The one and a half hour lessons will also ensure you have a good cardiovascular workout which will improve your overall fitness levels.
Who is it most suitable for?
Because some of the lesson is set to music, you do need to have some sense of rhythm. 'This is what makes it attractive to women,' says Mo. 'It is more like a traditional aerobics
Thai Fit may not be suitable for those returning to exercise after a long period of rest.
As it is such a dynamic workout, students need to have a reasonably high level of fitness. Mo says you should have been regularly attending a gym for about six months before thinking of taking up Thai Fit.