Dancers Drawn to PilatesPosted by Ian Kullhem on Aug 01, 2013
Dancers Drawn to Pilates
Given Joseph Pilates’ background it shouldn’t come as a surprise that his exercise method has found wide acceptance among dancers. Both he and his father were gymnasts and his exercise method was developed in consultation with exercise and dance experts. When he migrated to the U.S., he and his wife opened a studio in New York’s entertainment district to teach his routine to the fitness enthusiasts and dancers who were his earliest enthusiasts.
Because it strengthens and tones muscles while improving posture, flexibility and balance, the Pilates Method is perfect for persons wanting to increase grace and fluidity of movement without adding excessive bulk to their bodies. Dancing legends Martha Graham, George Balanchine and Mikhail Baryshnikov were among Pilates’ most enthusiastic followers, and that tradition continues as new generations of dancers discover the benefits of Pilates. Since Pilates stresses mind and body control as well as strength and flexibility, it also helps dancers focus on difficult moves and routines. Dancers still make up a large percentage of the millions of practitioners of the Pilates Method around the world today.
Dancers will find that many Pilates exercises are quite similar to dance training. For instance, the leg circles performed at the dance barre are similar to Pilates mat exercises where the whole body is engaged while one part, the leg, is the focus of movement. These types of exercise build long, lean muscles that are much more useful and attractive than the lumpy bulk that results from bodybuilding. And just as in dance, the emphasis on integrating the mind and inner body found in Pilates builds a total package that becomes part of a natural process of strength, stress relief and healing.
Because the term “Pilates” has become so widely used and abused, it’s important to know who you’re training with. Teachers trained in the “Classic” or “Authentic” method, such as those at Pilates in the Pines, have studied both the original exercise forms and the philosophy behind them, including the proper use of Pilates machines like the Reformer. When integrating newer machines and props into the exercises, they do so with an understanding of how they work to promote the system’s original goals of concentration, control, centering, precision, flow and breathing.
Pilates in the Pines offers a full menu of authentic Pilates training, both free-form mat training and machine exercise with the Reformer. Classes are taught Monday – Thursday and on Saturday mornings, alternating between “Mat Classes” in which participants are taken through a series of exercises using the body alone, and “Reformer Classes” where the students use the Pilates Reformer machine in their workout. Private sessions are available during the week when classes aren’t scheduled, all day Fridays, and on Saturdays after classes by appointment. All classes are taught by Certified Pilates Teachers.
Pilates in the Pines is located in The Village at Castle Pines, east of the intersection of US 85 (Santa Fe Drive) and Happy Canyon Road just north of Castle Rock in Douglas county. Complete information about the studio, its location, and its classes is available on their website, www.pilatesinthepines.com.