Ballet and fitness – and friends – merge in Grace & Form Studio

1 Feb, 2024 | Admin | No Comments

Ballet and fitness – and friends – merge in Grace & Form Studio

It all started with a bag of Hello Kitty candy. When Saskia Gregson-Williams moved to Los Angeles from the UK, and was searching for a ballet school to attend, her dad’s friend suggested Yuri Grigoriev School of Ballet. That friend was the stepfather of then-11-year-old Indiana Woodward, who trained at the school. So, off went Gregson-Williams into class one day, and in came Woodward, running toward her with a bag of Hello Kitty candy from France. It was the first time they met, but instantly they became best friends.

Indiana Woodward and Saskia Gregson-Williams of Grace & Form. Photo by Emily Teague.
Indiana Woodward and Saskia Gregson-Williams of Grace & Form. Photo by Emily Teague.

Their lives took them in different directions, but they maintained their long-distance friendship. Gregson-Williams would go on to dance with the Joffrey Ballet, until a bad ankle injury kept her away from the stage. At this time, she launched her own blog and cookbook, Naturally Sassy. She also qualified as a personal trainer and built ballet-based fitness method Ballet Blast.

Woodward went on to study in Moscow at the Bolshoi Ballet School and then the School of American Ballet. In August 2012, she became an apprentice with New York City Ballet and was promoted to principal in October 2021.

But now, not only are the two women still best friends, they’re also business partners.

Enter Grace & Form Studio – Gregson-Williams and Woodward’s lifelong dream of combining their unique backgrounds and experience in ballet and fitness. The online studio provides a blend of ballet classes and mindfulness movement practices, available through an app or desktop studio. In Grace & Form’s collection of classes, you’ll find ballet (from total beginner to professional), barre workouts, strength routines, sculpt classes, yoga sequences and more. Users can curate their own workout or follow the studio’s weekly workout plan.

Indiana Woodward with Saskia Gregson-Williams of Grace & Form. Photo by Megan McNally.
Indiana Woodward with Saskia Gregson-Williams of Grace & Form. Photo by Megan McNally.

“We wanted to create a space that nurtured and strengthened bodies and minds, building a love for your body with every step,” Gregson-Williams tells Dance Informa. “Bringing ballet to beginners, and helping those who love to dance love their bodies better. We envisioned Grace & Form as a sanctuary where the artistry of ballet intertwines with the power of fitness, shaping not just bodies but inspiring a profound connection between movement and self-discovery.”

Grace & Form offers a seven-day free trial before a monthly subscription ($19.99) or yearly subscription ($179.88). The studio also offers one-on-one training in ballet or strength, with a customized workout plan following the session for the month ahead to stream in the Grace & Form app.

Beyond that, Gregson-Williams and Woodward offer scholarships to the studio for those who want to try it out but can’t afford the subscription. Details on the scholarship program come out on the first of each month on Grace & Form’s social media: @graceandformstudio.

Indiana Woodward and Saskia Gregson-Williams of Grace & Form. Photo by Megan McNally.
Indiana Woodward and Saskia Gregson-Williams of Grace & Form. Photo by Megan McNally.

Gregson-Williams and Woodward are sure to stress that Grace & Form offers a range of classes designed for movement beginners through avid gym goers and professional dancers. Users can filter through the different levels to find something that suits their needs or where they are that day.

“When it comes to ballet classes, those who have an interest in ballet but no formal training can find Grace & Form a welcoming place to start,” Gregson-Williams says. “Beginner classes typically require no prior experience and focus on fundamental techniques, basic positions and ballet terminology, making them accessible to anyone. We’re expanding our beginner library so that individuals looking for a new form of exercise that combines strength, flexibility and grace will find it an easy place to start. Experienced dancers can benefit from Grace & Form by refining their technique, improving their strength and flexibility, and learning from dancers they respect and love. We have a filter of beginner to advanced, so whilst you can filter by your level even the beginner classes can be a great place to go back to.”

Gregson-Williams and Woodward say their launch earlier this year was met with a lot of enthusiasm, and already they’re seeing ways for the platform to grow. Over the next six months, the roster of teachers will expand internationally. And, almost like a tease, Gregson-Williams and Woodward share, “Although we always knew that our first element of Grace & Form would be the virtual, we’re very excited to come into the physical space in 2024. That’s all we’ll say for now!”

Saskia Gregson-Williams and Indiana Woodward of Grace & Form. Photo by Emily Teague.
Saskia Gregson-Williams and Indiana Woodward of Grace & Form. Photo by Emily Teague.

Grace & Form merges ballet and fitness in a safe and approachable way. And perhaps being entrepreneurs of the Studio has even enhanced the friendship of Gregson-Williams and Woodward in an exciting way.

“We’re both go-getters, and share a no-time-than-the-present attitude,” Gregson-Williams says. “When we have our minds set on something, we are both laser-focused. Our creative thinking compliments one another, and we always feel inspired to plough on after a quick catch up on the phone.”

To get a feel for the classes offered on Grace & Form, and to sign up for a free seven-day trail, visit graceandformstudio.com. You can also follow Grace & Form on Instagram: @graceandformstudio.

By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.

The post Ballet and fitness – and friends – merge in Grace & Form Studio appeared first on Dance Informa Magazine.

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