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Pilates and Dance: What is influencing what?

Chris Hunt Pilates Pilates and Dance blog

Pilates and Dance: Have we gone too far?

I do not go looking for controversy, but I am not afraid to speak my mind either, and after all that is what a blog should be for. I certainly do not write articles to create animosity or bad feeling, so please understand that before you read this article or comment upon it. I write from my own opinion, so obviously you might think me right or wrong depending on your own opinion, but we all have the right to our opinion. I respect yours, so please respect mine.

With that said I want to talk about Pilates and dance. We all know that Joseph Pilates was not a dancer, and that in his early days he did not work to any great extent with dancers. It was opening his studio next door to the New York City Ballet that really began the love affair between Pilates and dance, and that affair is still going strong today.

We also all know exactly why Pilates is so suited to dancers so it is not my intention to discuss that here today. What I want to talk about is not so much how much Pilates has influenced dance and dancers, but how much dance and dancers are influencing Pilates.

I know many wonderful Pilates teachers who are former dancers, some of who were integral in my first Pilates experiences and my decision to become a Pilates professional. What concerns me are presenters who are turning Pilates into dance choreography. This means that I come across Pilates teachers who have only ever trained with certain presenters so their idea of Pilates is clearly and fundamentally influenced by dance.

So how should the Pilates method be taught to new teachers?

Everybody has their own individual take on our beloved system, me included (see Pilates EVO: From the Heart). I respect everyone’s ideas, and many of those individual “takes” are wonderful and enhance the experience.  But for me the basic principles are sacrosanct and so is a more classical grounding. I only teach Pilates EVO to teachers who are already fully qualified. I see it as an add-on to people’s fundamental knowledge, not the starting point.

I do not think it is good that people do not experience fundamental training and then different types of Pilates, so they can understand that different presenters do sometimes have very different interpretations of the method. I see conventions year after year that feature the same list of presenters, and whilst I am not questioning the value of anyone’s integrity, ability, knowledge or professionalism, in my opinion that can continue to perpetuate the insular beliefs and experiences in some teacher’s minds about what Pilates is.

So what is your opinion about Pilates and dance? Do you agree that there is some truth in what I say, or is your opinion different? I would love to know, so please share.

Chris is an international Pilates and functional training presenter and educator based in London and Barcelona, Spain. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength.  He also organises Pilates Carnival and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. He organises fitness holidays and sports holidays in Barcelona, as well as retreats. For more information about training with Chris in Barcelona, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway? You can also subscribe by completing the form on the this BLOG to receive articles and special offers straight to your inbox.

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