Monthly Archives: September 2017


2011, $2.99, at Goodwill on Brand in Glendale

First Impression: They have taken my soul.

Second Impression: I will regain my human form if I win the love of a mortal before the clock chimes midnight.

This DVD is hosted by Mary Helen Bowers, the ballet trainer for Natalie Portman as she prepared for her role in Black Swan.  What a quintessential ballerina name is Mary Helen Bowers. It conjures up a dainty, precious, delicate persona. I wonder sometimes if the name makes the person. Imagine if this same person had been given the name of Bertha Eunice Hogglesplot. Would she have even been allowed to take dance lessons? “Sorry, we’re full up, you might want to apply at 4-H.”

The DVD menu and title cards are styled with a pastel, curlicue font, accompanied by the delightfully expert plinking of classical piano.  That tells you it’s time to tie on your wrap cardigan and pull up your leg warmers, because there’s no screwing around in the rehearsal room. You got big dreams?  You want Fame?  Well, here’s where you start paying… in sweat!  Oops, sorry, wrong movie.

Mary Helen Bowers is everything her name suggests.  Ethereal, tiny, perfect, bunned hair, with a sweet girlish voice.  She is also a ruthless taskmaster bent upon my destruction.  We begin the workout with simple Swan Arms. Two minutes in, I’m begging for mercy and checking to see how much longer this is going to go on.

The workout is an hour long.  Well, you could break it up into four 15-minute routines, but don’t you want to make it out of the corps some day? Isn’t that why you sacrificed your childhood and turned your feet into a hideous mass of callouses?

There, there. That’s better. I’m only hard on you because I know it will help you. After Swan Arms, we have a Full Body Blast, Butt 1, and the inevitably titled Butt 2.  So have a sip of water and the half an apple you are permitted, and focus! (claps hands)