True Strength at Momentum Fest

Momentum Fest

Fifteen days before Momentum Fest 2018, I was picking up my two kids from gymnastics camp (1.8 miles from my house) with my youngest child in the car as well (my kids were 2, 5 and 7 years old). It was a normal June summer sunny day. The four of us got in the car (my Honda Minivan that I have a love/hate relationship with but my love for it grows bigger every day) at 12:05pm and started to talk about what we were going to pack for lunch to take to the pool.

We pulled out of the parking lot and I got a reminder from my daughter, “Mom buckle your seatbelt” so I did with her genuine reminder. Then within less than one minute, one block from their gymnastics camp, on a road that has a speed limit of 30 mph our lives changed. A car, completely out of control, spinning in the street at about 70 mph hit us head on the drivers side. I opened my eyes, in shock to what just happened and thought to myself “I’m alive!” (I know that sounds dramatic but I was seriously shocked that I was fortunate enough to survive – if the other driver would of had a passenger, it would of been a much different situation since that car door was completely smashed into the drivers seat – so if there’s any silver lining I am thankful the driver was by himself).

I heard my kids screaming which was a beautiful sound – that means they were alive too. My adrenaline kicked in (it was surreal feeling it run through my veins), I turned to look back at my kids and they all appeared okay (thank you guardian angels as my heart sank thinking of my youngest who sits behind me), I unbuckled my seatbelt (that my daughter so kindly reminded me to buckle), I couldn’t get out of my door at it was completely smashed, I climbed over the passenger side door and made my way around the glass that was everywhere (it was all in my hair and the kids hair too).

Luckily there were a few men who saw it all happen (they were outside on a cigarette break – I have never been so thankful for people smoking) and they ran over to help me get the kids out of the car. The car doors were hard to open since they were so smashed in and my car literally shutdown. The driver of the out of control car walked over with blood running down his face, bones sticking out of his hand and all I could say was “what the hell did you just do”. To be honest I wanted to punch him (and I am not a violent person) but I wanted to punch him for putting my kids life in danger.

My husband always plays basketball at noon so I couldn’t get ahold of him right away so he meet us at the hospital (you can only imagine his heart as he drove to the hospital). I was incredibly lucky to walk away from the accident with only a broken nose, concussion, anxiety and severe full body bruising. My kids walked away with bruising from their carseats/harnesses and anxiety but very thankful for our car, car seats and guardian angels keeping us safe.

My love for movement is hard to stop even shortly after the accident when I was told to rest. A few days after the car accident, I went for a bike ride – I was craving to be outside moving but after my bike ride my head felt awful and I realized why doctors tell you to rest after a concussion. I wanted to move, I felt thankful to be able to move and in 10 days I needed to get better for Momentum Fest.

I was seriously worried about it. I already paid for my spot, I already planned on seeing & moving with my friends there. I had to get better. So I listened to my body and finally rested (which was so hard) and slowly incorporated Pilates back into my routine! Pilates was my original therapy when I lost my mom – people always think of the physical healing of Pilates but the mind/body connection and breath helped me heal from the inside out dealing with a broken heart and Pilates was my therapy again as I healed my anxiety from the accident.

Then on June 22nd, I showed up at Momentum Fest! I was nervous as I had no idea what to expect… a Pilates festival… well there really hasn’t been one before and this one was right in my own backyard living in Colorado… I had to go and experience it for myself! I felt so incredibly blessed I was able to go! I now had a more grateful heart being able to move. I did have to make some modifications for my neck and wrists (from the impact I recently experienced) but that didn’t matter. What mattered was, I showed up!

Momentum Fest

I wore an outfit that made me feel strong & confident but that didn’t matter either because by the end of the day on Friday I felt so strong & confident – I felt strong not only from all the exercising with my Pilates idols but from the energy of people coming together to celebrate movement. How lucky was I that I was able to move!? How lucky was I that I was able to exercise!? I didn’t take a single second for granted as I knew 15 days ago it could have all been taken away from me. Thank you Momentum Fest for making me feel strong – physically and mentally. Strength is something inside of all of us but it takes a community to help radiate it out of us. Thank you Momentum Fest for celebrating life, movement, and people coming together to make each other feel better! I can’t wait to see you at Momentum Fest this year to see your strength shine!


Register for Momentum Fest 2019!


Kelly Hendricks

Kelly is a lifelong athlete with a passion for movement! She fell in love with Pilates after experiencing how it improved the activities she loves including hiking, skiing, trail running, sprint triathlons, swimming, and – most importantly – keeping up with her three young kids. She followed her passion in 2015 by deciding to own and operate three Club Pilates studios. She is currently in the process of completing her 500 hour comprehensive training through Club Pilates’ teacher training program. Her passion is to improve the lives of everyone around her with better health by bringing communities together with a positive heart & mind.

Sharing Stories

There once was a woman who dreamed of a life where she could quit her office job and run her budding Pilates studio (in a small college town where nobody much knew what Pilates was) full time. She would have nothing but joy in her work, helping others find their strength and ease of movement. She would move her own body around in all different ways throughout the day, be inspired by her clients stories of transformation, have flexibility in her schedule, and…well…be able to wear comfortable athleisure every day. Hell yes!

So she decided to take the leap. She gave her notice at the office, scheduled a teacher training to bring on additional teachers, started shifting her mindset and priorities to actually do this thing called small business ownership.

So, she did that thing…and then another thing – a really big, not exactly planned, thing.

While on a vacation, between leaving her office job and delving into her new role, this woman jumped off a cliff into a river. Instead of landing playfully in the water, she hit the bottom of the riverbed with extreme force and landed herself in the hospital with traumatic injuries to her right leg; injuries that would result in five surgeries, several months of painful physical therapy and pain killers. She would live with her family away from her studio during the worst of it while her new teachers would run the show as best they could while she was laid up. She would return and scoot up the extra long flight of stairs on her butt to her studio and teach sitting down. She would be embraced by the support of her teachers and clients, but pressured by others to do more or be more than she was able to at the time.

This woman learned what injury was like in the body…and in HER body she would discover that injury is not just physical pain, but also extremely emotional and mentally taxing. Due to her immobility, she learned how to use her words more clearly and concisely. She would learn all about the knee joint and compensation patterns. She would have a greater level of empathy for others’ pain and stories of their body. She would become a better teacher.

She would recover..slowly but surely. She would grow her studio into thriving Pilates business. She would realize that that flexibility in her schedule meant she would, in her comfy athleisure, work any time, day or night. The studio would evolve and grow into a larger space with more instructors and a larger clientele. She would find boundless joy in her work. Her passion for the power of Pilates grew even stronger as she used it to heal her own body, mind, and soul. She would find herself again, her joy for movement and living. She would bike. She would meet the love of her life. She would eventually say a bittersweet goodbye to the studio she built and move across the country. She would start a new story. And then another story.

This woman was me. This woman is me. This continues to be…MY story.

Just as every Pilates student has a different journey into and within the studio, each Pilates teacher has a story of how they came to be the teacher they are; what got them into the studio as a student in the first place, to register for that initial teacher training, and ultimately the wins, losses, and lessons that make them the guides they are today.

Last year, I signed up to attend the first annual Momentum Fest.

I had no idea what to expect, but ultimately discovered that it was a space where stories and journeys are shared. Of teachers and students alike. Where inspiration and community abound.

At Momentum Fest, movement is truly celebrated…in all forms. Teachers and enthusiasts from all of the world get to come together to sweat, be inspired, learn, laugh, and share their stories! Here, new ideas are explored, tears are shed, and shifts happen, both physical and mental. New connections are made and lives are forever touched. You will move and you will BE moved.

Sounds pretty incredible, right? It was. And it will be again this year.

We all have a story…a human one. We thrive in community, and THIS is our community!

As I write this, I am nearly bursting at the seams with a new exciting story that is occuring in my life. Alas, I’m going to save that for when I see you there in June.

Register for Momentum Fest 2019


Lexy Adkins is the Senior Instructor and Outreach Coordinator at Bolder Pilates in Boulder, CO. She has run her own studio for 5 years, completed intensives in functional anatomy and biomechanics, earned her 200 hour and prenatal yoga teacher certifications, and completed yoga therapy training. After enduring a traumatic accident in 2011 that resulted in 5 surgeries and a lot of personal experience with rehabilitation and compensation patterns, Lexy has a deep understanding of the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of being injured and finding your way back to movement. Lexy has a passion for working with people with injuries and improper movement patterns, competitive athletes, and those who are simply interested in learning about their body and having fun with movement.

The 90’s Are Back!

Tease your bangs to gravity-defying heights, tie a flannel shirt around your waist, and cozy-up with your favorite fat-free snack as we take a look back … and possibly get a glimpse at the future.

It’s indisputable that 90’s fashion is currently experiencing a vigorous revival. Everything from Mom jeans, crop tops, headbands, track pants, overalls, combat boots, and bomber jackets are back on the shelves, in magazines, and on Instagram. Not convinced? Lululemon is now selling hair scrunchies. Case closed.

Movies and TV shows from the 90’s are being remade (Fuller House, Clueless, The Craft, The Lion King, First Wives Club and Little Women, to name a few), and 90’s music styles are being heard in artists such as Bruno Mars, John Legend, and Khalid. Trance, techno and electro-punk are all reemerging on the electronic dance scene, and I’m told that Nirvana-esque grunge music, complete with guitar riffs, lots of drums, and screaming vocals is currently finding new life, one fringe band at a time.

So, what is it about the 90’s that we’re suddenly finding appealing? Is it even possible to define a whole decade in a few words? Ten years is, afterall, a significant period of time. I started the 90’s as a highschool student in NE Ohio, and ended it as a married attorney in Tampa, FL. A lot can happen in a decade.

The 90’s were a time of national economic prosperity. The stock market did what the experts said it would, and wealth universally increased. We ushered in the decade by watching the Berlin Wall fall, and the fear of the Cold War, that had loomed for decades, literally vanished almost overnight. The devastation of the AIDS epidemic continued in the early 90’s, but we also watched as science tried and tried again to find a vaccine and a cure, and by the time the decade was over, significant advances in treatment had been made. The Gulf War started, but it felt surreal since we could watch it on TV during the evening news. The severity of what was known as The Video Game War wasn’t understood by most until much later. South Africa dismantled apartheid, and although it was a long time in coming, from the other side of the world, it seemed to happen swiftly and peacefully.

We religiously tuned in to shows about nothing, notably Seinfeld, The Simpsons and Friends, and we made sure to be home to turn on the TV before they aired, because there was no such thing as a DVR. Cell phones weren’t a thing, texting wasn’t a thing, and, at the beginning of the 90’s, the internet wasn’t a thing. When I arrived at college in 1992, I balked at the price of a desktop computer, and briefly wondered if I really needed one. Once my dorm room computer was set up (it took up all of my desk) I followed the printed directions the school bookstore gave me to set up my campus email address. Why someone would send a message over the computer rather than call on the phone to actually talk didn’t make any sense at the time.

It’s not that there weren’t challenges in the 90’s. Besides the above, we had The Oklahoma City bombing, Waco, the World Trade Center bomber, discrimination of all kinds, and, maybe, the smallest hint of the global warming crisis to come. But, we were in between the Cold War and the War on Terror, the economy was good, cafe culture, and the coffee that comes with it, was popping up everywhere, and personal style could be anything from Courteney Love to Rachel on Friends. We had technology, but not too much, and still, generally, enjoyed talking to each other. Civility, mostly, was still the rule. Record numbers of women entered Congress.

The challenges of the 90’s seemed surmountable. Problems seemed to have solutions, even if they hadn’t been found just yet. The instability of the era was felt, but our feet felt solidly on the ground.

In the wellness arena, the exhaustion of the calorie-counting of the 1970’s and 80’s finally wore us down. Someone told us that the only thing we needed to worry about was fat intake, and, relieved, we tossed our calculators and dutifully eliminated all fat from our diets. This compulsive nutritional discrimination was made easier once nutrition labels were required by the FDA in 1994. “Fat-free” meant “guilt-free” and we doubled down on pretzels, pasta, potatoes, bagels, gummy candies and all the foods that aren’t naturally fat-free, but became fat-free thanks to copious amounts of added chemicals. Better eating through science became the norm.

By the end of the decade we had begun to see the errors of our chemical-laden, fat-free ways, and the high-protein South Beach Diet took off. Many of us enthusiastically welcomed cheese back onto our crackers, but I’ve never been able to look at mayonnaise the same way again!

Gyms across the country continued to offer hi/lo aerobics well into the 1990’s, but we started adding a little style and fun to the choreography. Whereas the 1980’s classes and videos had been all about sweating as much as possible (soooo many calories to burn!) we decided that the 90’s was a good time to start having some fun with our workouts. The clothing remained more or less the same, as athleisure wasn’t yet a full-blown fashion force. Leotards and spandex still ruled, at least in the early 90’s, but colors went unabashedly neon.

The boy bands exploded on the music scene and, together with the music videos put out by Madonna and Janet Jackson, informed how we all wanted to move. The straight-up seriousness of the earlier decade’s grapevines and step-touches gave way to subtle changes with big impact. Some hips here and there gave a ball-change transition a little Latin flare. (Zumba, is that you?) A few counts to let the shoulders do their own thing, a tilted head and an irreverent expression, all kept people’s attention and kept us from taking ourselves too seriously.

Reebok’s Step Aerobics hit the fitness scene – hard – in the early 90’s and pretty soon gyms were buying plastic steps and risers in bulk quantities. Adding vertical capacity to an aerobics routine seemed to propel choreography into the stratosphere of limitless possibilities. We worked hard but it seemed like so much fun we didn’t even notice. Launching over that step felt like flying and catching some air helped the sweat dry. I taught step aerobics for well over 10 years and I loved every second of it!

Taekwondo met aerobics in the 90’s and TaeBo was born. Billy Blanks took the workout video market by storm with his martial arts-meets-fitness techniques that required no special equipment and could be easily done in the living room. He led a generation through series after series of kicks and punches, and we all had delusions of being super-badass because of it. Many of us started teaching a few phrases of TaeBo inspired choreography in our classes and clients ate it up. You know that cardio kickboxing class at your local gym? Yeah, thank the 90’s.

The 1990’s also introduced us to the Thighmaster, the Body Slide, 8-Minute Abs, and a workout video by Cindy Crawford, featuring the supermodel in a bathing suit on the beach, tossing her hair around in the breeze while doing various mobility and strength exercises. I have friends who swear that it was Cindy’s video that started them exercising. She isn’t particularly engaging in the video, but the workout is solid and we learned that hard work pays off.

We started to really enjoy exercising in the 1990’s. We started thinking outside the box of what had been the accepted ways to exercise (jog, lift weights, Jane Fonda videos), by allowing some character and personality to play. Moving in new ways felt good and trying new things with our workouts and our bodies made us feel like we could do anything. There was enough variety in the fitness world for more people to be involved. You don’t like aerobics? No problem, how about boxing? You don’t like boxing? Not a problem, here’s a plethora of new home fitness equipment to try.

Perhaps it’s that sense of possibility that has us yearning back to the 1990’s. It was a time of relative stability and peace that had us believing that the future was not only wide-open, but also under our control. In looking to our past, we inform our decisions for the future. That desire and willingness to spice up our group fitness classes in the 90’s absolutely paved the way for the Zumba and cardio-kickboxing classes of today. The ability to think of taking group fitness up off the ground with step aerobics likely had an impact on bringing aerial and suspension training to your nearest gym or studio.

I fully expect more specialized group classes to emerge. And as we continue to feel nostalgic about a simpler, less plugged-in time, meeting others at gyms and studios for face-to-face interaction will only increase in value.

So, this year at Momentum Fest, come and join me in a whole class to pay homage to the 1990’s. I have a DJ friend mixing a set of the best of 90’s dance music and we’ll have SO. MUCH. FUN! We’ll move the way we moved in the 90’s, trying some of everything. Hi/lo aerobics, step-inspired combinations, TaeBo, music video dance moves, we’re going to do it all. Don’t think you can groove to the music? Or be trusted to go the right way at the right time? I promise you, you can. This class is solely for fun! No dance knowledge or experience is required. And, if you simply want to show up, listen to the music, and make friends, that’s welcome, too!

Register for Momentum Fest June 21-23, 2019


Emma Kumley, JD, PMA-CPT and certified GYROTONIC® Trainer, has been teaching movement for 25 years. She began teaching group fitness classes as an AFAA certified instructor after she finished high school. One husband, one law career, and four kids later, Emma finds herself as the owner and operator of The Movement Studio in Oxford, FL, where she teaches Pilates and the GYROTONIC® Method. Her personal movement journey has evolved from early ballet and modern dance experience to group fitness and corporate gym overdose to the balanced gratitude that is born of boutique fitness studio ownership. This evolution has taught her that physical fitness should be a way to love your body, and she advocates for moving whenever and wherever you can!

Momentum Fest Made Me Cry

Momentum Fest made me cry. Seriously, I stood up to teach a room of over 100 people, and I just started crying. For those of you who don’t know me, I am British, and we do not, in fact, must not show any emotion in public (and possibly not even in private). It is quite unheard of!

So, you can imagine my utter embarrassment when I began to deliver the opening segment of the closing class of Momentum Fest 2018 and I just started sobbing. I was mortified.

Now, I do blame my behaviour in part to Brian and Jessica Valent (the incredible couple behind MF), who had made the most heartfelt speech just before I was due to teach (I couldn’t handle it), and I may also lay some of the blame on the jet lag, however if I am being completely honest the tears of happiness were mostly due to the genuinely unforgettable time that we had all shared over the previous 3 days, and put simply, I just didn’t want it to end!

I travelled from the tiny nine-by-five mile island of Jersey, just off the north west coast of France, to attend and teach at Momentum Fest 2018, and I am so happy to be returning again this year. Last year, as it was the inaugural festival, I didn’t really know what to expect and I had only met a few of the other presenters very briefly at various Pilates trainings/conferences in the past. Due to this I have to admit that I was really nervous as it was my first big teaching gig in the USA and I was worried that I might just be a bit lonely!

Those nerves were completely unnecessary. The atmosphere created by the founders, attendees, presenters, volunteers, vendors, and hotel staff was just fantastic. It was clear from the start that everyone had showed up just to have fun and enjoy Pilates without any strings attached. My mum had come along as a volunteer, and even as someone who just dabbles in Pilates she was welcomed, and felt as part of the community as I did.

If you are already booked and coming along to Momentum Fest 2019 I can’t wait to see you there! If you are still yet to book your ticket I really cannot recommend the weekend enough. Whether you are a teacher, student, or just starting to get interested in Pilates, you are in for a really fun weekend with genuinely nice people.

I will be teaching two mat based classes – one is all about the Teaser, and the other a super chilled stretchy class, and I am also teaching reformer and wunda chair classes. I promise you that you won’t regret attending Momentum Fest, but be warned – you may witness a few tears!


Register for Momentum Fest 2019 before prices go up April 16th


Grace is from the UK and first fell in love with movement when she started ballet at the age of 2. At age 11 she was accepted to full time ballet school where she was lucky enough to be introduced to Pilates, which became an integral part of Grace’s dance training and career. In 2010 Grace transitioned from professional dancer to ballet and Pilates teacher, and became certified through the Royal Academy of Dance, the Pilates Method Alliance, and Body Arts and Science International (BASI) Pilates in the UK. She later competed the Mentor and Master programs with Rael Isacowtiz in California. After 3 years of teaching in the Cayman Islands, Grace now lives on the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands and co-owns a Pilates studio there. She also guest teaches and hosts Pilates retreats internationally and is a member of the BASI Pilates faculty. She is so excited to be returning to Momentum Fest for a second year!

Becoming Juliet – Dance & Pilates Meet at Momentum Fest

Momentum Fest

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!


Join us for Momentum Fest June 21-23, 2019


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!

Being Human Together

Momentum Fest




First thought in EVERY great class or workshop I’ve ever taken. 

Sometimes I’m smiling. Sometimes I’m laughing nervously. Sometimes I’m shaking my head, rolling my eyes, looking around the room deeply confused. And most of the time I can feel something in the pit of my stomach that tells me I’m in for a wild ride and I’m ALL in (mostly…usually).

No matter what, those words always lead to something memorable and usually more than that, inspiring and meaningful.

This is why Momentum Fest…

To be with people and ourselves in new ways, to push the edges, be a little (or a lot) uncomfortable, physically challenged, maybe even (hopefully) a little mentally and emotionally challenged, for sure lit up, expanded, opened, and set ablaze. Being with people does this. Movement does this. Celebration does this. 

But let’s talk about me for a minute 🙂 

I know who I am because of you. Likewise, you know who you are because of me. Not necessarily in the long view, who I am entirely as a person forever and ever, but in the “this moment” view. We’ll use the language “present moment” because what else is there…really?

When you and I are in a room together, especially when we’re face-to-face, you change my physiologically and I change yours. You see my eyes and my smile and maybe there’s something familiar there. You smile back and feel yourself drop into a deeper sense of ease, you open, feel safe, get curious.

Maybe we hug (I’m a hugger) or I touch your shoulder while asking you about how you came to be interested in this class (mine are the ones that will definitely make you say What is happening!? — in a very good way). Your body decides whether or not you feel safe. 

You’re nervous system is responding to my voice, my facial expressions, my touch, my body language. A smile, a comforting touch, a soothing voice, an open (but not too open) posture, all of these things communicate to you that you can relax.

So many of us — and honestly I’m tempted to say most of us — are living from the opposite view. We interact more meaningfully with the our tech than people. And let me be clear because I know we spend lots of quality time with our families and dear ones, but how many spontaneous and passing meaningful moments do you have with acquaintances or people who simply help you get your life done (think bank teller, crossing guard, grocery checker, barista, the person sitting next to you on the plane?). 

We don’t look up. We don’t look around. We don’t see faces or smile at strangers. We spend a lot of our attention shifting environments and interactions, trying to keep all the balls in the air. This level of output keeps us in a nervous system high rev. Stuck, let’s say, in the fight, flight or freeze mechanism in a very deeply rooted way. 

When life is like this — and all of life feels like this — we create a bubble of safety around ourselves, to preserve what energy and attention we have left and need (this being the perception not necessarily the truth). Even when we go to a yoga class or Pilates class we’re often not truly in relationship with others, which prevents us with being in relationship to ourselves. 

One of my favorite things to say to my classes (generally as I’m having them walk in Radom patterns around the room) is:

“Make eye contact, smile at someone. In here you don’t get to pretend like you’re the only one in the room.”

And we do. Unknowingly. We do. We forget that we know ourselves and the beauty and joy of life through others; through the language of others (books), through the eyes of others (art), through the touch of others (movement and intimacy) and through the presence of others (relationship).

This is why Momentum Fest.

To move. To explore. To tap into potential you never knew you had or haven’t touched in a while. To smile at someone and recognize that they’re here to experience joy too. They’re at Momentum Fest for that, but they’re also just ALIVE for that. 

Looking forward to being a human in a room with you.

Register for Momentum Fest 2019 here!


Chantill is a movement explorer, educator, and mentor and has made a 20-year career teaching Pilates; it still makes her smile. Her work focuses on teaching from the whole-person and whole-body perspective, drawing from brain-based learning frameworks, motivation and communication science, somatic and humanistic psychology, and other emerging models such as the polyvagal theory. Chantill is the founder of the education company, Skillful Teaching, the creator of the Thinking Pilates Podcast and author of the book “Moving Beyond Technique”. She is also the creator of one of Pilates Metrics’ original movement libraries and a featured presenter for Fusion Pilates EDU. Chantill lives and teaches in Sacramento, CA.

Barre Classes at Momentum Fest

Barre classes have a bad reputation for being just for dancers. As an “insider” I can say that this is a myth I try to bust every barre class I teach. Some other myths that surround this method of movement include the fears of not being flexible enough, coordinated enough, graceful enough, or strong enough to partake in class. When I created my own method, Barre Variations, I made it my mission to promote inclusivity between other barre methods, and to create a community that firmly believes there is plenty of room at the barre for everybody! I want anyone that wants to learn and move with me to feel welcomed, and supported. My passion is to spread the word of why the ballet barre was utilized in the first place, and to show others how this piece of equipment can support all aspects of life. 

The ballet barre was originally created for ballerinas to literally aide in holding them up while practicing ballet exercises. The ballerinas would do exercises at the barre and what they learned into the center of the room without any support. The barre is a tool to gain strength, balance, and flexibility to be used in space. It is simply a learning tool, meant to be taken a way. Without the foundation of the barre work in ballet, the dancers would not be able to gain the technique needed to perform with strength and grace on stage. All the preparation was for the final performance to showcase the technique and skills learned at the barre.

Flash forward to the 1960’s when Lotte Berk created the very first barre method. She is the inspiration and catalyst for every barre method out there today. The Lotte Berk Method was developed from her modern ballet background and she created exercises using the ballet barre and floor work. Lotte specifically said that this method was for non-dancers to be able to achieve their fitness goals, all while enjoying themselves. She brought the use of the ballet barre to mainstream fitness, utilizing it to gain the same benefits it had given to dancers for so many years. Lotte implemented exercises that uses the barre for support, and at times leveraging the barre to aid in movement. On top of that, she used her infamous wit and cheeky humor to break down the barriers that made ballet dance elitist and made it attainable for everyone. Lotte’s classes created community, gave people confidence, and inspired the students to aspire for more. 

Because of where using the barre comes from, and the direct line from barre to stage for ballerinas, there is still stigma associated with barre class that it is all about performing perfectly. In a barre class there is no final performance showcasing the moves learned, so therefore it is not meant to be a place to perform “perfectly.” Focusing on the barre as a tool to use to support your movement will redirect the purpose from performance to being an aide. A large portion of a barre class is done standing, and beautifully translates to movement in everyday life. We need to walk, climb stairs, sit down, stand up, etc and barre exercises prepare the body fo these actions. However, none of these moves need to be executed to the standards of someone else, let alone the School of American Ballet. 

The physical benefits of barre are one thing, but the emotional gains are greater. Barre classes offer a space to build connections, community, and a place to gain confidence. The barre lifts you up, and in turn you can lift up others. Just like other group fitness class there is a camaraderie that happens between the students, which can result in friendships. Everyone is in it together, and there is a bond created through the shared experience. I enjoy, like Lotte Berk, using humor as a teaching strategy to make everyone in the room feel welcome and at ease. I view my job as a barre instructor as a person who is there to guide the class, empower them to make the right choices for their bodies that day, and to offer a fun way to move the body. I’m there to support just as much as the barre. When I teach my method, Barre Variations, it focuses on alignment, using the barre for support, varying movements to ensure a full body workout, but most importantly inclusivity in the classroom. No matter what background, experience, or expectation we are there to move and have fun! My goal is to let anyone who wants to move with me know that there is plenty of room at the barre, and anyone who takes their place at it is welcome.

Bringing Barre Variations to Momentum Fest is a perfect place to share how this form of movement can offer support in all ways. Momentum Fest was created to fuel the mind and body through the joy of movement. It is a place that is on a mission to uplift people through empowering fitness classes. What better venue to debunk that barre is only meant for a certain type of person. This 3 day retreat supports those looking to celebrate movement and include everyone who wants to take part. I’ll be waiting for you in Denver to bust this myth, so meet me at the barre so we can raise it together!

Michelle Duvall is an expert movement teacher who finds joy in motivating others to make connections through mindful movement. Michelle holds a BFA in Dance, PMA®-CPT, 200hr Yoga certification, and trained in The Roll Model Method by Jill Miller.​ With her rich background in various movement styles, Michelle created Barre Variations. A manual, method, and video library with an expanded syllabus of choreography and technique. Michelle believes that there is plenty of room at the barre, and aspires to inspire others to let their inner creative barre star shine!

Momentum Fest From a Student’s Perspective


I wanted to attend Momentum Fest 2018 from the moment I saw it advertised on social media. Initially, I didn’t have anyone to go with and was too nervous to go alone.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve traveled alone plenty but this was different. Deep down, I was scared to go alone because I knew it would mostly be instructors & studio owners in attendance. In other words, I would be outnumbered. In February 2018, Jennifer messaged me and asked me if I was planning on attending. I told her the story and she said she wanted to go. Within 24 hours I bought my ticket to Momentum Fest and booked a flight to Denver.

Friday morning – the first day of the event – I woke up nervous. It felt like the first day of school! I was nervous, excited and worried. A small percentage of me didn’t want to go to registration. The things that concerned me were feelings of inadequacy – not sure if I would be able to keep up in classes, with my schedule (I went for four hours of Pilates every day) and that I wasn’t good enough. This was probably the most nervous I’d been in a long time.

Right away the jitters started to drift away!

I went down and met Jen for registration. We walked outside to wait poolside, because both of our first classes were outside. While there we met Ashley and Karyn, two studio owners from the Fort Collins, CO area. They were great ladies with good energy. Ironically, my first class, I set up my mat right next to Karyn. As we began moving through Grace Hurry’s “Cadillac on the Mat” class, my nerves slipped away. Throughout the day, I’d see some of the same faces, whether it was in passing or in class. Smiles, high fives, laughs and even grimaces after a tough class were had by everyone.

One of the things I enjoyed about Momentum Fest was the social interaction. Seeing people I met along my journey, meeting people from social media for the first time and making new friends. It’s surreal meeting people you’ve only chatted with or commented via Instagram or Facebook. Social media has a way of bringing us together and making the worlds seem a little bit smaller. During the weekend, I was able to speak to different people about business and teaching. I even found a few other Pilates enthusiasts to talk with.

Jessica and Brian brought in some amazing talent to kick off this first year! The caliber of teachers that were presenting during the weekend were out of this world. Many of them you will already know and love if you are a member of Pilates Anytime or are on social media. To be able to learn from them, move with them, and have small moments of conversation are epic. I was so thankful for every chance I was able to speak to them, even if to only say thank you and let them know something I learned.

Not only did these presenters head the classes but they also participated with us. My first class had Lesley Logan behind me, ready to join in and learn along with us. I took a reformer class with Grace Hurry and Tracey Mallett was right next to me. I thought, “No pressure there, Stacey”. Crazy huh? They wanted to show up, support their friends and move with us!

My final thoughts

Magical. Strength. Uplifting. Empowering. Special. Game changing. Emotional journey. Eye opening. Excitement. Good enough. Where I need to be. These were words that came to mind when I sat on my hotel balcony Monday morning. I was beginning my day with coffee, overlooking the mountains, and journaling about the weekend. As I started to write, I began to cry. All of these amazing emotions and thoughts were courtesy of Momentum Fest and the people I met.

I wish everyone to be able to feel the energy we all felt over the weekend. The presenters moved us physically and emotionally. Even if you aren’t into Pilates, if you’re into movement, you will walk away feeling empowered and loving the experience!

To anyone who I made eye contact with, smiled with, laughed with and met, please know that you’ve helped make this experience so wonderful. You’ve left an imprint on my heart and mind.

I am full.


Momentum FestStacey Extence began practicing Pilates in 2011 to become healthier. She soon realized how much more it was to her than simply a healthy lifestyle. Pilates became a form of therapy for her mind and soul and she fell in love with the movement practice. Stacey enjoys her Pilates practice at home and also spends time traveling and seeking out new practitioners to learn from. She is a Pilates enthusiast and loves sharing the method with anyone who’s willing to listen and try it out! She looks forward to completing a teacher training program in the future. Stacey is a Momentum Fest ambassador for 2019.

Why Momentum Fest means so much

Momentum Fest Pilates

Momentum Fest Pilates

Eight years ago I attended my first yoga and movement festival.

We were living in Hawaii at the time and I drove an hour to the North Shore with a group of girlfriends for two days of yoga classes, movement, dancing, eating and connection.

I spent my days falling in love with my mat again. Moving for the fun of moving.

I spent my nights dancing and then staying up late with my girlfriends, eating in our rooms and talking about the amazing classes we took that day.

I drove home sore and tired and full in every sense of the word.

I was explaining the weekend to my husband when I got home and the conversation steered towards Pilates. I had been a teacher and physical therapist for ten years at that point and I could honestly say there was nothing like this in our industry.

I explained to him that yes we have conventions and workshops. We have networking events. We have classes for CEC’s.

But we don’t have movement events simply for the sake of moving.

We don’t have a single opportunity for STUDENTS to move along side TEACHERS.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if someone created something like that for the Pilates industry?

We kind of laughed about it and let it go.

It became one of those ideas that we would return to periodically. I would continually wonder why we didn’t have anything like it yet and when it would finally come about.

In the summer of 2017 I was on a walk by myself. I was eight months pregnant with our second baby and we had recently moved back to our hometown of Denver after ten years away.

The idea of the event hit me and this time I couldn’t let it go (because isn’t that what everyone does at eight months pregnant?!)

I texted Brian that maybe it was time we finally did something about it.

And so we did.

I am not sure I could ever find the words to describe our first Momentum Fest. It brought together all of my favorite things – family, friends, movement, joy, hugs, laughter, music – into one amazing place and time.

We had professionals and students. We had complete beginners and people who had been teaching for thirty years.

Brian and I had literally poured our hearts and souls into this event and we wondered if people would feel what we were trying to give.

I can promise you they did.

Workshops and conferences and courses are amazing and needed in Pilates and all fitness industries. They hold teachers to high standards and allow us to share ideas and improve our skills.

What they usually don’t let us do is move.

We got into this profession because of our love of movement. Yet – because of busy schedules and owning studios and teaching – we lose the connection to our mat and our own bodies.

I want you to have the feeling I did all those years ago.

The feeling of leaving your notebook at home.

Forgetting your client list and proper breathing techniques and exercise protocol and cueing.

I want you to get on your mat, close your eyes, feel your body and move.

Then maybe laugh.

Connect with humans. Not because of where they were trained or how long they’ve been teaching or what studio they own.

Just because they are people.

Then come shop and dance and maybe have a glass of wine with us because that’s how we roll :).

I had someone recently tell me “I just don’t get it” when asking about Momentum Fest.

To that I say maybe it’s something you don’t necessarily need.

But for those who have a longing for something more in their movement lives. For those missing the heart in the technique. For those missing connection – both to themselves and to others. For those wanting to step into the possibility of something more. To explore other modalities. To learn something new about themselves. To meet new people. To embrace sweating and moving and laughing. To hold hands and chant and cry happy tears (because yeah, that happened).

Momentum Fest is for you.

I promise we will continue to put our hearts and souls into this event.

I hope you come and share yours as well.

Click here to join us.

All my love,




Our Natural Rhythm

Our Natural Rhythm

Joseph Pilates made it his life’s mission to take us back to our animalistic state of movement. He studied animals and babies and used their natural rhythms as a source of what adults should strive towards. He also encouraged human’s to be outside as much as possible and to live a pleasurable life full of zest!

This summer at Momentum Fest in Denver, we will be celebrating our natural rhythm through the power movement, music, and the outdoors!

Joseph Pilates characterized himself as a small, sickly child when he was younger. He took it upon himself to strengthen his body through various forms of movement such as wrestling, yoga, gymnastics, boxing, and martial arts. While doing this, he also studied the behaviors and movements of animals and babies, as these are our most natural states.

It is important for us to approach each day with a sense of wonder and newness, much like a child would! The Pilates method encourages us to connect with our natural rhythm, as every exercise strives to embody effortless ease, much like those of animals and babies. The exercises are performed in various positions, such as supine (lying on our back), prone (lying on our stomach), side lying, quadruped, tall kneeling, and standing—all of which are stages that animals and babies move through as they develop.

Mr. Pilates emphasized that “Normal muscles should function naturally in the much the same manner as do the muscles of animals.” Every Pilates exercise encourages organic strength and flexibility, similar to how a cat moves through space. The work teaches us to move efficiently like animals– Therefore saving our energy for when it’s necessary, as well as being able to peacefully rest when it is necessary.

Music is another great contributor to our natural rhythm—and is an exciting part of Momentum Fest!

Although sometimes our music taste differs from one another, we can all agree that music is something that brings people together. Listening to music that we love or relate to has many positive benefits. Music helps to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as elevate our emotional state. With an elevated emotional state comes improved cognitive function, as well as increased exercise motivation, performance, and endurance!

Joseph Pilates also encouraged his students to “…never fail to get all the sunshine and fresh air (they) can.” Similar to music, being outdoors also eases stress, calms the mind, and elevates the spirit.

The 1st Annual Momentum Fest will be taking place in sunny Denver, Colorado! Among its many benefits, natural sunlight also helps to improve eyesight and increase Vitamin D intake. Vitamin D is good for bone and cell growth, immunity strength, and inflammation reduction. Some of the classes at Momentum Fest will take place outside, allowing us to move together amidst the sunshine and fresh mountain air!

This summer at Momentum Fest we can’t wait to move to our natural rhythm within an amazing community of movement, music, and the outdoors.

Register today!

Whitney Shea, PTA, PMA® -CPT, RYT is a Pilates Teacher and Physical Therapist Assistant in Boulder, CO, and she currently teaches Pilates at Physical Therapy of Boulder, Colorado Athletic Club, and at The University of Colorado at Boulder. She is PMA and Yoga Alliance Certified, and has Advanced Teacher Training and Master’s Program Certifications from the Pilates Center in Boulder, as well as a degree in Integrative Physiology from CU-Boulder. After experiencing a traumatic car accident in 2008, she developed a deeper appreciation of The Pilates Method as rehabilitation, which has brought her to her most current position as a PTA and Pilates Teacher. When Whitney isn’t teaching or practicing Pilates and Yoga, you’ll most likely find her outside hiking, skiing, rock climbing, or fly fishing with her husband Billy, and their pup, Solus!