Dancer Mary Helen Bowers whips starlets into shape thanks to her "Ballet Beautiful" routine

By Kate Hogan
June 13, 2012 10:00 PM

Courtesy De Capo Press

Natalie Portman was totally convincing as a professional ballerina in Black Swan. Her acting skills, of course, played a big part, but her lithe, toned body also made moviegoers believe she could actually be part of the corps.

That stunning transformation came courtesy of ballerina Mary Helen Bowers, a former New York City Ballet dancer who has since taken the celebrity world by storm — and penned a book about her routines.

After Portman’s Black Swan metamorphosis was revealed, other stars began requesting private sessions with Bowers. The demand persuaded her to create the “Ballet Beautiful” workout, which helps those not training for an Oscar-worthy role to get into shape.

Though Bowers teaches at an airy loft in N.Y.C. (and on Skype!), anyone can do her workouts at home now thanks to her new book, aptly named Ballet Beautiful ($13.32 on The tome includes her favorite workouts (both 60-minute and 15-minute “blasts”), offers solutions to weight loss and workout goals and features delicious, healthy recipes.

Aside from Portman, who wrote the book’s foreword, 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.

–Katie Dickens