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Just dance

by jmaloni

Left of Center

Tue, Aug 24th 2010 09:00 am

by Joshua Maloni

As Leylâ Sheehan-Gruarin was waiting for Left of Center to sit down for an interview the other day, she inadvertently spilled her drink all over the table and bench at Ashker's in Youngstown. Suffice to say, our meeting didn't begun quite the way she expected.

In a way, it was very apropos. Gruarin, whose daughters Gréthe and Grace are professional ballet dancers, didn't expect to take up the craft herself at the age of 43. She really didn't expect to become good at it, or to transform into what she called "a chiseled machine." And, once she did, she didn't expect to take three years off and become a self-described "squishy hobbit."

Life happens.

Coffee spills.

What can you do?

But as Leylâ stood sopping up her misplaced beverage, she began to describe how she plans to clean up her own physical state of being. Starting next month, she and Gréthe will be back in the Time to Dance studio in Niagara Falls. Along with Grace, the three of them have formed a teaching company, Mint Conditioning. Leylâ and Gréthe will begin instructing adult classes on Sept. 13 and 14.

"Life is a series of starting over," Leylâ says.

The goal of each session is for women (and men, too, if so inclined) to get in shape and have fun.

"We're all in this together," Leylâ says, later adding, "I want it to be an inspiration for people who were like me."

Ballet fit classes will run from 9:30 until 11 a.m. on Mondays, and from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. Students will work within the Cecchetti method of classical ballet, and are expected to dress in appropriate attire. Prior dance instruction is not required, as the class is open to both beginners and semi-professionals.

Pilates stretch and strengthen mat classes are offered from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Mondays, and from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays. Participants here will use Pilates and ballet floor work to develop strength in their core (abs, back, glutes) and to stretch their entire body. The studio will be darkened, with lava lamps used to create atmosphere.

"We're starting slow," Gréthe cautions, as her mom says,  "I'm starting over, too."

Of course, their slow is not necessarily the average person's slow.

"Slow is still incredibly hard," Leylâ says, adding, "You will crawl home."

"It's such a good feeling, though," Gréthe says.

For more information on Mint Conditioning classes, or to register, call 745-7265, e-mail [email protected], or visit the studio online at Facebook.com. Time to Dance is located at 5000 Saunders Settlement Road, Niagara Falls.

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