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Ballet Beautiful: Transform Your Body and Gain the Strength, Grace, and Focus of a Ballet Dancer Paperback – June 12, 2012

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Frequently Bought Together

Ballet Beautiful: Transform Your Body and Gain the Strength, Grace, and Focus of a Ballet Dancer + Ballet Beautiful: Total Body Workout + Ballet Beautiful: Body Blast
Price for all three: $32.93

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books (June 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738215902
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738215907
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Natalie Portman
“Mary Helen’s technique . . . allows anyone to achieve the long, toned physique of a dancer.”
Zooey Deschanel
“Mary Helen knows how to make ordinary women look like ballerinas. She’s the real deal.”
Liv Tyler
“Mary Helen is wonderful! We train together using her Ballet Beautiful program doing leg work, butt lifts, and stretches. I love working out with her.”
Publishers Weekly, 11/28/11
“Shows off a celebrity fitness trend that could just be the next Pilates.”, 6/12/12
“We recommend her book not only for the easy-to-follow, illustrated exercise plan, but also for Bowers' extensive explanation about how to get into the right mindset for changing your body.”
People, 6/13/12
“Bowers counts Zooey Deschanel, Kirsten Dunst and Liv Tyler as clients. If doing these ballet-inspired workouts allows us to look like any of them, we’ll be donning our tutus shortly.”
Daily Mail (UK), 6/13/12
“The ballerina responsible for whipping Natalie Portman into shape for her role in Black Swan is giving us the chance to attain ‘prima’ perfection with the release of her a book.”, 7/25/12
“Provides step-by-step exercises, as well as a detailed rationale as to why and how her program can get you that coveted ballerina-esque grace and poise, as well as a strong, lithe, dancer’s body.”, August 2012
“Filled with photos and a world of good advice regarding a sustainable health regimen rather than fad diets or overworking one’s body.”, 8/2/12
“Not just an exercise book but a book about grace, style and elegance, which ballet dancers have in abundance…The fitness routines…are an unconventional approach to toning and shaping, and will certainly be effective for readers who can stick to them.”

ForeWord This Week, 8/21/12
“With dozens of ballet positions and exercises in [Bowers’] 60-minute workout, along with healthy recipes and meal plans to turn fat into lean muscle, this fabulous guide provides the methods for any woman to achieve the long, toned, powerful body shape of a dancer.”

San Francisco Book Review / Sacramento Book Review, 9/4/12
“Combining Bowers’ exercises and eating tips is a surefire way to change up your workout or jump-start your weight loss plan.”

Midwest Book Review, September 2012
“Clear examples of basic ballet movements even non-ballet readers can absorb.”

Taste for Life, October 2012
“With this book, you can learn how to transform certain areas of the body to become more sculpted and defined…This book is for anyone who wishes to gain the strength and grace of a dancer.”

Portland Book Review, March-May 2013
“Every woman’s ultimate guide for learning how to create a balanced, healthy lifestyle, from fitness to food to philosophy…Bowers is motivational and inspiring…Unerringly realistic, Bowers is that rare proponent of balance amid extreme yet popular fitness and health ideas.”

About the Author

Professional ballerina and founder of Ballet Beautiful, Mary Helen Bowers is a sought-after fitness expert with a high-profile clientele. Mary Helen trained at the School of American Ballet and danced with the New York City Ballet for ten years. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and lives in New York City.

More About the Author

Mary Helen Bowers is a professional ballerina and the founder and CEO of Ballet Beautiful. Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, Mary Helen moved to New York City at age 15 to study at the School of American Ballet. She was invited to join the New York City Ballet the following year and danced 10 years with the company at Lincoln Center and on stages across the world.

After retiring from NYCB Mary Helen earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Columbia University. She launched Ballet Beautiful, a fitness and wellness program inspired by the grace and athleticism of ballet, in 2008. As a tech-savvy entrepreneur, Mary Helen developed one of the world's first online fitness studios. Today Ballet Beautiful has a global membership with a high profile following and impressive celebrity clientele. Ballet Beautiful and Mary Helen have been featured on CNN, ABC, the Today Show, the New York Times, Elle, Vogue, Women's Health, Harper's Bazaar and the Wall Street Journal.

For more information, to check out online classes and Ballet Beautiful videos, please visit

Customer Reviews

Absolutely love Mary Helen Bowers and her Ballet Beautiful methods!
This book really gets you ready for your lifestyle changes and the recipes are great!
For my money, while both are good investments, I'm getting more out of the book.
Deb Nam-Krane

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By AgnesaB. on July 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
I am a devoted fan of Ballet Beautiful method/concept. I own both DVD's and almost all blast videos available online. No surprise I am an owner of the printed version of the book as well!

Why would I recommend this book to other girls and women - and not only to those who love ballet as I do?

First of all, the book is written in very pleasant, calm and sensible style. It is divided into three parts (these are divided into chapters).

The parts cover all you need for building some kind of regimen or just approach to your work out routine and food choices:

* mindset
* the actual work out (stretching exercises, the classic 60 minute workout and three 15-minutes blasts workouts: 1 for arms and 2 cardios). Here you also obtain some basic ballet terminology, few basic BB principles
* third part talks about the approach to food - shows what food choices are great, the essential philosophy here is the intuitive/instinctive and very sensible approach to food. I apprecciated the suggestions for breakfasts, snacks, lunches etc. There are also suggestions for how many times per week to work out (ideal week, a moderate and light week). You will also find usable and practical tips on how to deal with cravings etc. In the very end of this part and of the book itself you can find few quick and healthy, yet easy recipes provided by Mary Helen and her friends/family.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Eliza T. on June 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
I've been doing Ballet Beautiful for just under a year and it's been amazingly transformative for me. This book embodies everything I love about Ballet Beautiful and Mary Helen. It's funny, optimistic, sensible and very challenging. The book is filled with all the exercises that helped me change my shape but it's also got the essential advice and support that helped me make those changes permanent. It guided me in remaking my way of thinking and about my body, food and exercise and maybe more importantly it revamped my confidence in the fact that I have the power to create new healthy habits in my life. This book talks to my whole person - mind and body! And it even gets into all those icky, negative feelings about bodies / food / accomplishment that we all get and that block us from making progress.

Also I find it so easy to stay positive and connected because of all the resources available in the book but also online at Ballet Beautiful anytime of day / night. That's made all the difference for me. It used to be so frustrating when life didn't allow me time to exercise, but now that I know don't have to run to the gym to get a great workout I feel confident that I can keep it up. And I've learned how to be realistic about setbacks, the kind of things I used to get so mad at myself about. I "move on" as Mary Helen advises. And guess what? It's working!
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By ballerinabeauty_x on July 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
I'm gonna be honest here...this book honestly deserves 5 stars. The book itself is absolutely gorgeous. I just wish there were at least a few color photographs in the book, just as a personal preference, but the black and white was still pretty to look at.

The book is easy flip through when transitioning from one exercise to the next. I simply lay it down on the floor next to my mat or prop it up against something and refer to it from time to time. The exercises in it are essentially the same as her Streaming Blasts and DVD's, but there is still quite a bit of new material in the book that is not featured in either the Blasts or the DVD's (such as the Reverse Bridge, Parallel Pulse in Plie, etc.). I admit, I was actually surprised to see how much I was sweating and exerting myself while doing some of the moves; I'm no novice to Ballet Beautiful, and I wasn't expecting that from a book workout!

Although Mary Helen says that you don't need any dance experience to do some of the moves, I have to disagree with her. There are some terms and positions that one must be familiar with before attempting, and if it weren't for my dance background, I would have been hopelessly lost. Not to mention having at least some experience in ballet will help you out in proper form. Even when it comes to figuring out how some of the exercises go (like the Standing Abs - that one took a little while to figure out, thanks to a misleading picture), at least some sort of dance background is something I'd definitely recommend. However, if you're naturally sharp at picking moves up pretty quickly, then I suppose you'd do OK.

I wouldn't buy the book if you were a complete Ballet Beautiful beginner; as you'd probably struggle trying to figure out how some of the exercises would be performed.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By arm on March 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a huge fan of Mary Helen Bowers and her dvds and streaming videos. I purchased her book to see if it would add any extra insights. I enjoyed her message about the importance of not punishing yourself over the occasional not so healthy choice and her emphasis on consistency and fitting in workouts where you can. However, I think that the exercise portion of the book is a little hard to follow. If you want to follow her toning exercises, the dvds and streaming videos are the best bet.
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