I’m inspired to write about this never-ending discussion regarding Classical vs. Contemporary. It comes at a time when I was asked about how I could do both in the same studio? How can I teach both? And, do your clients know the difference? No one really ever asked me that before and I never really gave it too much thought…until now. Just this past week, I realized I have “good” answers to these questions after some things I saw and some things I hear myself saying in classes. Since recently relocating to New York, I’ve had the pleasure of being exposed to all kinds of teachers. Like most people in similar industries, we all bring something unique to this passion we have called Pilates! Of course I believe in the education and the method of classical Pilates, but this butterfly was transformed from a fitness background. Because I am a “movement junkie”, it’s hard for me to choose one thing or one way over the other! This is why I bring both to my studio
So why choose a classical school for training? I absolutely believe (because I’ve seen it happen) that the best way to truly learn and master the order is to do the order! There is nothing more satisfying than seeing progress in students! I don’t care what level…even as a beginner, progress is so powerful for the student and for the teacher who is responsible for helping them learn! It’s equally as exciting to teach “one time exercises” in a contemporary class to students and watch them light up with excitement and a little bit of fear. I call them “one time exercises” because when you aren’t teaching the order…chances are you end up only doing certain exercises randomly in a contemporary session. At least that’s my experience. When I teach a contemporary class, I spend a lot of time the night before thinking of what I want to do. I have to look at the roster and evaluate what level each one of the students is before I settle on the curriculum. It sounds like a lot of work…because it is! But because of my fitness background teaching group classes and personal training…this comes “natural” to me…just like teaching classical.
There is something to be said about having “rules”, “rituals”, and “routines”. We like them! From the point at which you step inside the studio and you must remove your shoes…right down to wiping off your equipment before you leave. Knowing what to expect feels “safe” and makes us want to come back. To me, this is classical. Trying to get into the studio without taking your shoes off first because you didn’t feel like it today is a little rebellious and “living on the edge”. To me, this is contemporary. Don’t make me choose between them because I think there’s a place for both!
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PMA® Certified Pilates Teacher
Peak® Pilates Master Instructor