2007, $2.99, at Goodwill on San Fernando in Glendale

First Impression: This is how you teach your cat to jump through a hoop.

Second Impression: Spoiler: your cat is a tiger, you’re trapped a rowboat, and boy, are you both thirsty.

Our instructor is Elise Galan, former ballerina, LA-based teacher, and the Prettiest Girl in School.  In the intro, she holds onto her hips as tightly as she grips her little smile:

This workout will give you a perfect body and everyone will love you; yes, yes, I know. What distracts me is the realization that this video is shot in the same location as Targeted Toning Pilates For Beginners.  That same IKEA lamp is still in the background of every shot, taunting me:

This idyllic seaside compound is clearly the home of a cult. Let’s call them “The Sunshine State Collective.” They require perfection in every aspect so you may attain your highest self. I mean, look at how Elise Galan moves a chair. Even when she’s just shuffling furniture around, it’s the most graceful thing you could possibly imagine:

If they ever made a live-action Swan Lake Barbie, this would be perfect casting right here:

Don’t let that smile fool you. Swan Lake Barbie is a taskmaster and she will put you through your paces. Wait… is she the cult leader? She could convince a lot of people to pool their money and give up dairy. It would not be difficult at all.

As a kid, I only took one ballet class, because afterwards, I asked my mother if I could take ceramics instead. But this DVD’s routine is pretty much what I imagine you might perform in Miss Peachum’s Ballet Academie. 

When we switch to doing some work on the floor, of course my kitten jumps onto my stomach and shoves her butt into my face. Grace and beauty, grace and beauty. 

Soon enough, Elise Galan declares, “Sit with the soles of your feet together and smile. You’re finished!” Like I always say, cakes are done. People are finished. Number of Girl Scout Trefoils eaten during workout: three.

The next day, I’m very aware of my hamstrings, in that they are wound up tight like an over-tuned viola. Beauty is pain.

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