I find fitness inspiration a little difficult to come by, but this book, Karen Kain’s Fitness & Beauty Book (1983), is so beautiful (good type, good photography) that it makes me want to get ballerina fit immediately (which, of course, good luck with that!). I found it at a thrift store this weekend and thought it was pretty well worth the $2. Growing up in Canada in the 1980s, Karen Kain was someone I really admired and respected; she was a principal ballerina of the National Ballet of Canada and is its current artistic director. She danced with Rudolph Nureyev and was immortalized by Andy Warhol. Here is an interview with her from 1976 in which she talks about how painful ballet is.
The book includes a full workout routine (non-cardio), which is probably not unlike the sort of workout you would get from a ballet barre style of class. I always love an unfussy workout that doesn’t require much in the way of equipment.
The book also includes sections on nutrition (with information from her brother, a doctor—it might be vintage 1980s but through all the trends in diet and health you can see that it always comes down to the same basic principles!), skin care, makeup, and posture. I’ll copy out the recipe for the Karen Kain Chantilly below, which was a dessert that Agriculture Canada named in her honour.
The Karen Kain Chantilly (about 135 calories per serving)
8 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, then vanilla until stiff peaks form. Line a baking sheet with greased foil. Shape meringue into rings (7 cm in diameter and 3 cm high) using a piping bag or two spoons. Bake at 250°F/120°C until set, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Turn off oven and let stand a further hour. May be stored up to a month in freezer. Do not thaw before filling. Makes about 25 meringues.
6 cups sliced strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream
2 tbsps. icing sugar
1 tbsp. kirsch or 1 tsp. vanilla
Combine strawberries and sugar. Whip cream, gradually adding icing sugar, then kirsch or vanilla. Fill each meringue with 1/4 cup strawberry mixture and top with 2 tbsps. whipped cream. Garnish each serving with a strawberry slice. May be held for up to half an hour at cool room temperature. Makes 25 servings.