You won’t find any frilly stuff at The Extension Method. When I walked into the ballet fitness studio, I noticed beautiful white brick walls, and the coolest silver, modern vintage looking furniture. The founder, Jennifer Nichols, cringes at the sight of the colour pink, so it was nowhere in sight.
Ballet has been known for its ultra-femininity. Nichols wants to shy away from this idea, which is why the concept behind The Extension Method is “Strip Away the Satin and Reveal the Muscle.” The focus is on strength and lengthening in an approachable setting, which brings us to another issue in the ballet industry: elitism. Recognizing that ballet can be intimidating for many, Nichols welcomes a variety of folks from all walks of life and fitness.
That’s how I felt walking into The Extension Method for the first time. Everyone was friendly, (one woman regaled us with stories of her squishy faced cat), no one looked down on me because it was my first class (in fact, everyone was encouraging and complimentary), and the class was challenging but a ton of fun.
I participated in the signature class, Allegro Ballet Bootcamp, to get a sense of what the Extension Method is about. I’ve done barre classes before, but this was much different and more ballet heavy. I liked that aspect because it felt like I was trying a ballet class and learning about ballet techniques like pirouettes and jetés while also getting the work out of my life. I left the studio with new skills while drenched in sweat.
Extension Method also offers the following classes: Développé Ballet Sculpt, Barre 101, Adagio Ballet Stretch, La Ronde, Classical Core & Port De Bras (Abs and Arms), Coda Ballet Cardio, Double Bill, Pilates, Classical Ballet Technique, Absolute Beginner Ballet, Classical Ballet Technique (Absolute Beginner and Levels 1 and 2), Beginner Pointe, Pas De Deux, and Private Coaching for Ballet or Pointe. There’s lots of variety if you’re interested in ballet or want to get physical like a dancer. The studio is located in a beautiful space in Corktown (30 Eastern Avenue).
About Jennifer Nichols
Jennifer Nichols got a later start in her ballet career at age 14 but went on study at professional ballet schools such as the Quinte Ballet School of Canada, Les Grands Ballets Canadien, l’Ecole Superieure de Danse Du Quebec (The School of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens). After dancing in several productions with various ballet companies, she decided to follow a different path than securing a steady corps position, at her height of 5’10 (6 feet on point!) it can sometimes be tricky in the professional ballet world to match up with male partners. Now, she wears many hats in the umbrella of dance.
Jennifer runs her own commercial dance company (Hit and Run Dance Productions) and works independently as a performer and choreographer for stage, TV and Film. She choreographed all four seasons of the CW period piece Reign, and also has worked on shows such as Titans, Glamorous, Salvation and Mary Kills People. Recently, she danced and choreographed for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Esprit Orchestra, Against the Grain Theatre and Fawn Chamber Creative. Jennifer hosts dance and wellness retreats, as well as cultural trips for women. Her upcoming Ballet Brunch event is one I am highly anticipating.
Extension Method Prices
A 2-week unlimited trial is only $50, and a great way to try all the classes. The prices are reasonable, and there are a variety of packages you can check out. Plus, there are discounts for students, and members of ACTRA, Equity and CADA. There are also packages for private lessons and personal training, and an option for mat and towel service.