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How an Ex-Ballet Dancer Succeeded by Thinking Outside the Barre When Hollywood called, a former New York City Ballet dancer turned to the web to keep her back-home fitness clients on track.

By Jennifer Wang

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Technically sound: Mary Helen Bowers of Ballet Beautiful.
Technically sound: Mary Helen Bowers of Ballet Beautiful.
Photo© Kate Elson

When Natalie Portman asked Ballet Beautiful founder Mary Helen Bowers to help her train for the lead (and, as it turns out, Academy Award-winning) role in Black Swan, there was just one possible answer: Yes. But the dream assignment would require near-constant travel. Bowers would have to leave her fitness studio clients behind just as the business was taking off.

A former New York City Ballet dancer, Bowers developed the training and fitness routines that became the foundation of her Ballet Beautiful program after an injury forced her to find a portable and effective way to stay fit while stuck in a dressing room. She started training her clients privately in 2008, and within a year she built a solid client list--and got Portman's attention.

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