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Ballet Becoming A Popular Exercise Option

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Bored with your workout? Try giving ballet a twirl.

Ballet works almost every muscle of the body, increases flexibility and even helps relieve stress.

At the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, you don't need dance experience to take a drop-in class. School Director Marjorie Grundvig says you shouldn't be afraid to jump right in.

"It shouldn't be intimidating," she said. "The way that especially ballet class but any dance class is designed is to start slowly – slowly with the process of learning the steps and learning the coordination and then you build on those blocks to become more complex, so it's a process that anyone can do."

Robert Vickrey teaches drop-in classes here. He's seeing more participants these days and credits the increase to the hot dance shows on TV.

"I think there's so many things going on especially with television, 'So You Think You Can Dance' is the big one, 'Dancing With The Stars' is huge, all the musicals and so on that are coming around, everybody sees themselves as a dancer at some time in their life, you know," he said.

And for some participants that's become a reality. Janet Wizig was all smiles as she shared her experience.

"I come in here and I'm happy," she said. "If I'm in a bad mood I'm in ballet 10 minutes and I'm a joyous person. My mind is clear because you have to focus on everything that you do. It's really consuming."

You never know who you'll see in class. Antoine Douaihy is a professor of psychiatry at Pitt and takes ballet for many reasons.

"A lot of aspects of it [are] basically to strengthen, to really tone all the muscles, to increase flexibility," he said. "At the same time, it has also the emotional aspect of really expressing yourself."

He also says it's a major stress reliever. With all these benefits, it's no wonder more people are trading in sneakers for ballet slippers.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in the Strip District holds drop-in classes for all skill levels throughout the week. To find their schedule, click here or visit

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