Videos with Finis Jhung
The Ten Minute Stretch Break
“As an older adult ballet beginner, I have searched diligently for helpful as well as enjoyable instruction. One of the DVDs I have from Finis Jhung is The Ten Minute Stretch Break. The instructions are very clear and precise, the music is beautiful, the dancer illustrating the stretches does a wonderful job and she looks very happy to be doing them. It is not often that an instructional DVD can be so accurate in knowledge of how the body works as well as showing movements full of grace and beauty and having absolutely lovely music in the background. Stretching has never been so enjoyable as well as beneficial. Thanks Finis!”
— R. Walker
“As with many Finis Jhung DVDs, what the title suggests is different than and/or more than I initially imagined. So it was with this one. I quickly let go of all the images I had of grunting and groaning through grueling stretching programs. It would be impossible to injure oneself with these rhythmic dance-like movements presented in three sections: Standing, Seated, and On the Floor. Choreographed to original music, they encourage the mind to slow down along with the movement, which also can only be good for the soul! Finis Jhung emphasizes not force but the use of the body’s weight to do the stretching. ‘Gentle,’ ‘meditative,’ ‘balletic aesthetic,’ ‘tranquil,’ he reminds. These stretches can be evening slow-downs or morning wake-ups or mid-day breaks, or sedentary antidotes or mind/body ‘hellos.’ They help my body’s awareness of the space around it—kind of like making everyday movements dance-like. (I also seem to be less likely to ram a little toe into the leg of my coffee table!) And the interview with Melissa Elstein, the demonstrator, is super interesting.”
— Marie Paquette Nesson
“Five Stars [out of five]. I would give this DVD a hundred stars if I could!
“This DVD truly belongs in every home. I own other stretch DVDs but this is my “desert island” DVD that I take with me when I travel and that I turn to for unfailing relief of physical aches and pains and mental stress. Finis Jhung is acknowledged as an unsurpassed ballet expert, teacher, and coach, and one of the many wonderful things about this program is that he, who has worked with some of the finest dancers of our times, shows such understanding of the challenges faced by those of us who are less physically gifted. This program is very gentle and entirely safe yet it provides a superb, thorough stretch regimen for the entire body. I have done it on my own as well as with my mother (in her eighties) and due to Mr. Jhung’s careful, patient, detailed instruction, both of us were able to “customize” the stretches to the level appropriate for our abilities. The exquisite demonstration by Melissa Elstein provides beautiful inspiration as well as an example of flawless form for those who are following, and the lovely, sensitively nuanced music adds to the aesthetic experience and gently guides one into following the right rhythm and pace. I should add that although I obviously write from the perspective of someone who is not an accomplished dancer/athlete, this DVD would be just as valuable for people at the peak of physical ability as it is for the rest of us. Indeed, people who regularly push themselves in vigorous activity/performance might have special need of this DVD’s soothing, meditative aspects. Whether one’s daily life involves demanding physical exertion or “stiffening” sedentary deskwork, this stretch program provides an immersion in beauty, grace, and flowing, harmonious movement that is comforting and cheering as well as physically beneficial. Absolutely brilliant and irreplaceable!”
—Laura Fasick, Moorehead, MN
“I did this DVD last night and it was a real treat after a long day at work. It gave me an opportunity to stretch, relax and become mindful of any aches and stiffness. I like how Finis takes his time to breathe through each exercise and allows the viewer to move within their own range of motion. I especially loved the seated series because I really felt the rotation of the spine plus I can do these at my desk in the office when no one is watching.”
— Sooji Pak
“Finis’s well-thought-out stretching exercises are gentle and relaxing. These exercises emphasize improved flexibility of the neck, axial spine, and major joints of the extremities. All that is required is a daily ten-minute block of time to complete one of four optional routines in front of a television. The exercises are performed either from the (1) seated, (2) standing, or (3) on the floor positions. For physical and mental stress relief, even office personnel should be able to perform these low intensity exercises at their workstation. Finis’ exercises are especially advantageous in that there is negligible physical impact. His stretching routines are configured to address inflexibility caused by aging. The short exercise program is a convenient substitute when a lengthy physical workout is impracticable. Over the last five years, I have worked intensively with Finis’ outstanding classical ballet teaching DVDs. I remain favorably impressed with his logical approach in developing special practice and exercise routines for everyone. The Ten-Minute Stretch Break DVD is no exception. It is tailored to meet the needs of those interested in maintaining an appreciable level of general fitness. An old adage is true with respect to exercise. ‘Use it or lose it!’”
— Jeffrey S. Putter, M.D., Escondido, CA USA
Ballet Barre Stretch & Strength
“This is my favorite barre DVD with Finis. It provides a good amount of workout and the exercises are very effective on strengthening your feet (which is essential for ballet). The movements are so elegant and well paired with the music that I feel like dancing at the barre. It was fun and effective. Can’t be done better. Thank you Finis!”
Beginner Ballet Barre
“I am 40-year-old beginner, with no previous training in ballet. I discovered Finis’s work about a year ago, on Amazon, when I was searching for introductory level ballet DVDs for adults. My experience with his initial ‘Absolute Beginner’ DVD in the red series left me deeply impressed—and hungering for more. To say that Finis has profound understanding of ballet as an art would be an understatement; but he also possesses keen pedagogical sensitivities that enable him to make this knowledge accessible for adults who never set a foot in the ballet studio before!
“This second DVD Beginner Ballet Barre is true sequel to the first: Finis intensifies the training in all the aspects that were introduced in the Absolute Beginner DVD: his signature almost-isometric plié, proper getting on your leg, balancing, strengthening of the feet, and spotting. New things—such as positioning in space, tombé lunge, preparation for pirouette, and arabesque—are also introduced. As before, Finis’s teaching attitude is very encouraging: the way he introduces new concepts and movements makes you believe that ballet is not only for the young and the flexible. His instruction is astonishingly clear and to the point. And, his snippets of wisdom—‘you are only as good as your plié-relevé’; ‘keep your brain in your foot’; ‘arabesque is opening your heart’—stay with you long after the video is over. Admittedly, this is not an easy DVD: I find myself going back again and again, because it takes time to truly strengthen your feet and to make it a second nature to work from your supporting leg. But every effort brings forth real results. First, there are ballet-related results: I can also do things that I have not been able to do before (e.g., the beloved pirouettes – now, I have not become a perfect ‘turner’ by any stretch of imagination, but there is a world of difference between toppling over at high speed and being able to actually get around all the way without the manic flailing of the arms. I also feel I am getting more out of my regular ballet classes, because I am beginning to recognize the underlying principles (isometric plié, work in opposition, stand in #1, expansion-contraction, lead from the foot, importance of the supporting leg, etc.). Secondly, there are life-related results: I observe improvements in my posture, core strength, and daily balance.
“Finally, the aesthetics: this DVD is high-quality film, set to a melodic musical score, and a beautiful demonstrator, Melissa Elstein, is a joy to watch (even if a challenge to imitate!). I strongly recommend this DVD to my fellow adult ballet students and to all who is interested in a fitness program that is both effective and safe.”
— Natalia Shulgina
“Great, great video for adult beginners who want a challenging yet doable full barre. Level of clear, instructional detail is way more than what you’d get in some other offerings on Amazon, with their bargain basement prices and corny cover graphics. Head and shoulders above all that. It’s really convenient that there is also an exercise mode where you can plow through the whole barre without the instructional parts. The exercises build on each other so logically so that by the time you’re about to do the half and full pirouettes, you’re totally prepared for them. Just like its subtitle, emphasis is on your standing leg, and working the plie-releve correctly; Finis also emphasizes how to work your feet at the barre. He gives you little demos of the wrong way to the exercises, which is really helpful because then you know what to avoid. Basically he lays out the process of each exercise and tells you which muscles should be engaged. Another thing that’s cool is that inside almost all the exercises he incorporates short little relaxation stretches. The demonstrator is a beautiful, gracious lady and a great sport! It’s nice that at the end of the video he sits down and talks with her so we see her as a person, not a mute ballet doll. This DVD looks and is high level production and instruction. It’s an investment, really, that you can refer back to over and over again, and believe me, you will need to because there are so many issues that he discusses. Oh, and if you don’t know who he is, just google him.”
— Cynthia Elmas, Astoria, NY
“Most ballet programs for adults just use the same old drills that are used to teach children. That approach can work for kids — their bodies are more resilient and absorb the information faster — but it’s pretty frustrating for adults.
Finis re-invented the older methods of teaching ballet. He broke down the basic, foundational movements of dance and found simple ways to explain them to his adult students. I’m sure the method is helpful for kids, too, but for adults, it’s a game-changer. Finis’s method makes it possible for people to learn ballet later in life — something that wasn’t possible before with the older methods.
I started Finis’s program in my late 40s (no prior dance background) and it has made remarkable changes in my body — more than yoga or Zumba® ever did. My posture has improved, my core muscles are stronger, my legs and back are more flexible and more whole body looks leaner. And dancing is a lot more fun than yoga!
There’s a reason people are willing to pay more for these DVDs — they’re worth it. You’ll keep them for years and go back to them again and again. Even if you stick with dancing and you move on to more advanced movement, you can still get a lot of mileage out of this basic barre routine.
The format is clear and easy to use — you can choose to watch each of the 15 exercises individually, or watch them all continuously with no interruption. You get all the proper, precise ballet terminology along with the simple, clear instructions, and Melissa Elstein demonstrates with musicality and grace.”
—Donna Knipp, NY, NY
5 out of 5 stars
“This DVD has turned out to be one of my favorites so far. The exercises are basic but challenging enough and the demonstrator Melissa is charming. I find I can hardly wait to share my new moves and ‘Finis wisdom’ with my fellow dancers and teacher at adult ballet class. Thank you so much for another valuable and timely product.”
—Sylvia Lausted, Spokane, Wa
“No matter where you are as a dancer, this video will reveal a hidden side of what makes ballet look so beautiful. While in many classes, especially for beginners, the focus is on positions and steps, people end up imitating everything, without any knowledge of the movement process and how to use their bodies. This DVD will teach you exactly what any good dancer needs to know and do: exercises to strengthen the feet by using the floor, insistence on doing any movement slowly so that you feel how you use your muscles, and what muscles you need to use. There is also an excellent explanation and exercises about how essential it is for a dancer to lengthen their Psoas muscle in order stand tall and dance well. If you are struggling with your pirouettes, you will learn how to do the right preparation so you can turn successfully. Finis’s natural demeanor, the clarity of his explanations and his sense of humor plus the demonstrator Melissa Elstein’s effortless execution make this video a truly enjoyable experience. This is the Finis Jhung Ballet Technique at its best!”
—Ileana L. Ray, Brooklyn, NY, Adult student at Alvin Ailey Extension
Purchase DVDs or Stream
You can also purchase DVDs or Streaming versions of these videos at finisjhung.com.
Melissa’s Videos on finisjhung.com
You can purchase any of these DVDs on Amazon.com.
Beginner Ballet Barre