As an instructor, my passion is teaching Pilates to dancers. I want to help them create body awareness, improve strength and mobility, and let them learn to think for themselves. When they are on stage do I want them to think about me and Pilates?? Hell no!
There are many things that go into training dancers, athletes and movers. My goal is to give them such a rich foundation that mechanics come naturally and without thought. The Pilates system is, in my opinion, the best modality for educating the body. I love helping them gain an understanding for their craft. We do and should spend hours in class nitpicking technique and discovering ways to cultivate talent. However at some point in their career, especially in a professional setting, there will be no room for thinking about neutral spine during pirouettes. It should just happen.
Many years ago, I was watching the Winter Olympics. The commentators were talking about how three of the female ice skaters chose to skate to the music of Romeo and Juliet. She said two of the skaters were acting the part, but only one truly was Juliet. That has always resonated with me, and now my main goal as a teacher is to help my dancers become their part.
So what made this skater Juliet? What made her performance more prone to a medal? Was she always Juliet or did she have to work on it? Young or experienced dancers come to class and need conscious exercises to facilitate their craft. However every time we end class I let them have improvisational time. Allowing their body the freedom to move without thought or expectation, is the beginning of the becoming process. Slowly over the course of a year, the improv becomes more shaped and “technically correct.” I feel dancers need to have room to make mistakes and it be ok with their teachers, but mostly themselves.
The becoming process is what I hope to share at Momentum Fest. For most of my session I will go over typical poor movement strategies that some dancers go through, and give them exercises to address it. But then we will dance our asses off and become Juliet!
Becky Phares is a Ragin Cajun Pilates instructor from Lafayette, LA who owns The Body Initiative Pilates Studio. With over 10 years of teaching experience she has worked with all types of populations from the ages of 7 – 93. Recently Becky has been blog writing for the Polestar International newsletter and finished in the top 10 in the next Pilates anytime instructor competition for 2018 and 2016. Movement is her passion and wants to share postivive movement experiences with the world!