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 Post subject: Pilates Query
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2000 5:52 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 12:01 am
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Location: Australia
i received the following query privately, and asked for permission to reprint it here, as i'm sure the answers would be of interest to others, and i'm also sure maggie can be more use than me!<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>My daughter is 14 and recently had a private lesson in Pilates with a certified instructor.<BR> <BR>Everyone that I have talked to says you need two classes per week. Due to her busy schedule in ballet it is very hard to fit two classes in per week, not to mention the added expense. <P>One of her friends is taking private classes on the equipment and her mom offered to take my daughter on Thursdays after school, but the second class of the week would be difficult to make. If she combines the classes with the other girl the fee would be cut in half, which would help. <P>How quickly do you see results, and how does it affect dance technique? I can see that the exercise can strengthen weak areas, but one would hope with 20+ hours per week in ballet she would be in perfect shape!<P>Could she supplement the second class with a pilates video? Since technique in pilates is so important, I' m not sure a video would be as productive. <P>How has pilates helped you? I greatly appreciate any info that you have.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><p>[This message has been edited by grace (edited October 12, 2000).]

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 Post subject: Re: Pilates Query
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2000 6:12 am 
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i might just start with answering the question to me. i am a teacher now. <P>how has pilates helped me? i confess it hasn't!<P>but i've seen what it can do with others.<P>when i was in london i did a combined pilates floor work and ballet class (ballet was with maryon lane, former RB principal). that was great, but i couldn't honestly point to any one thing which the pilates component gave me, over and above any other segment of my classwork.<P>what i found is that it really does take time to take effect, and that time needs to be patient, consistent, quiet time, inner-focused. it's not exercise you can race through unconsciously - you really have to concentrate.<P>when i returned to australia, i took pilates floor classes for a while, but only once a week, and without feeling any real achievement or gain. it simply wasn't enough.<P>my instructor had worked (as a notator) at american ballet theater in the 1980's and seen makarova's use of pilates-based training to enhance her already gorgeous technique and physique (especially for her return to the stage after childbirth). i don't know if this is what inspired her to move from ballet teaching and notation into pilates training, but that would certainly be understandable.<P>dancers in major ballet companies the world over swear by it. some companies have their own equipment.<P>i have never done the work with machines. i'd like to. i'd also really like to try this gyrotonics, which is described in one of the other threads in the studio here, but i'm not aware of it being available in australia - at least not where i live.<P>my understanding of it is that its most important effect for dancers is on the postural muscles, which are at the core of everything we do. by strengthening the 'centre', one frees the rest of the body to work around the centre with ease.<P>there is already a pilates thread here. if you do a search in this forum, The STUDIO, you should find both the pilates one, and the gyrotonics one.<P>i'm sure maggie will find this thread tomorrow, to add her expert's advice regarding your daughter. i feel that a video is no solution at all - sorry, there - but i'll be interested to see what maggie says!<P>

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 Post subject: Re: Pilates Query
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2000 12:23 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 1999 12:01 am
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Location: Seattle, WA USA
I have done gyrotonics for a couple of years, and a little Pilates, (only mat work). I think the more intense workout is on the equipment--I think it's called the Universal Reformer. From what I understand, Pilates seeks to focus on the core or "powerhouse" muscles of the inner thigh, abdomen and lower back. Although it works the entire body, the philosophy is such that they seek to strengthen these core muscles. I think you would probably have to do pilates 2-3 times per week to feel dramatic results....I don't know from personal experience however. Sometimes I think that any conditioning regimen is good,as long as it's physically sound (running is sometimes contra-indicated for dancers becasue of knee and foot issues).<BR>Right now I'm doing yoga and it's changed my body--much more strength balance between upper and lower body, more flexibility balanced with strength...I'm just mad at myself that I didn't "discover" it earlier. I think it would have made a lot of difference during my active dancing career.


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 Post subject: Re: Pilates Query
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2000 4:11 pm 
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I must preface this by saying that (as with many things) the quality of teacher is paramount.<P>The overview, simplified, is as follows.<BR>1. As Grace mentioned above, core strength, or correct strength of the many postural muscles, including, but not limited to all the abdominals, muscles supporting and surrounding the spine (including the latissimus dorsi)<BR>2.The correct function and development of the breathing apparatus, or that which enables the lungs, including, but not limited to, the abdominals, serratus, and others. Developing proper usage of the ribcage.<BR>3.Developing and training inter-vertebral articulation, which promotes a healthy back and spine.<BR>4. Correcting and developing proper alignment through correct muscular development. This is done by teaching the fundamentals of "neutral spine" which is a dynamic, not a stationary concept.<BR>5. Strengthening and stabilizing the shoulder girdle.<BR>6. Balancing the musculature of the legs, and teaching correct foot/ankle/knee/hip strength/alignment.<BR>7. Integrating all of the above with movement, not isolated calisthenics.<P>When taught well the floor work can be as "difficult" as the work on the equipment.<BR>I put difficult in quotes because pilates can be used to help rehab people in a fairly fragile state, to challenging the most elite of athletes.<P>The knowledge gained in pilates is applicable to other things, ie: ballet class. It can give the body the "muscular memory" that will help the dancer to have the strength to maintain alignment in difficult adagio work. It can teach her to work turnout to the best advantage. It can help the postural anomalies brought on by hyper-extention, whether it is in the legs, (which affects the entire posture,also) or in the thoracic area.<P>If I had been able to avail myself of regular pilates work in my teens to augment my dance, believe me I would have. It can help protect the body from injuries, and help to recover from them.<P>Results can be seen in as little as a month with a minimum of twice a week with a GOOD teacher. And yes, 20+ hours of ballet a week does put you in good shape of a sort. But ballet does create its own anomalies of muscular imbalances, and compensations that I believe should be addressed. I speak here as a former dancer with 25+ years of experience.<P>Trina, I take yoga classes also (movement junkie that I am) I'm sure you'll agree that a good teacher is just as important. A bad teacher, at the least, is useless because in my experience the class becomes a sort of "monkey see, monkey do" series of exercises. (I couldn't even call them asanas in that context). Again, true in gyrotonics. I've had a mediocre teacher, who was also a chiropracter, and a very good teacher. The difference is astonishing in the results.<P>Any questions on the above, please ask, including any clarification of the seven basic points above.


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 Post subject: Re: Pilates Query
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2000 7:49 pm 
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thanks so much for such a thorough coverage of anatomical basic benefits. <P>do you agree that a video is not the way to go? and HOW do you think someone like this mom can assess, whether the teacher is a good teacher?

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 Post subject: Re: Pilates Query
PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2000 5:06 am 
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I agree that a video is not the way to go without some prior experience to apply it too. A video could act as a sort of motivator and a way to help with the momentum of a home workout.<P>It is difficult sometimes to know if the teacher one is considering is a good one. Generally, word of mouth from respected people who have worked with the teacher is helpful. Knowing the teacher's background can be helpful such as what their own pilates training has been, and if they have had an extensive dance background. (A certification is not necessarily indicative of quality, because anyone can give out certifications. Also, it sometimes means that someone has just "gone through" a program, but does not necessarily mean that they are qualified. Certification is not necessarily qualification.<P>Also, I strongly suggest starting off with private instruction at first for the best results. This work is/should be very specific, therefore, the idea is that each person's needs are very specific.


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 Post subject: Re: Pilates Query
PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2000 6:37 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Thanks for the information Maggie. I have my name down at the Laban Centre to do machine based Pilatus sessions when they have some spaces. It's very popular.


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 Post subject: Re: Pilates Query
PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2000 7:26 am 
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Stuart, do let us know what you think when you try it. I'd be very interested. You won't be able to wear those long white robes, though.


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 Post subject: Re: Pilates Query
PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2000 10:24 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Is there a risk that my beard will get caught up in the machines?


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 Post subject: Re: Pilates Query
PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2000 10:52 am 
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Yes, Stuart, put it up in a bun...


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 Post subject: Re: Pilates Query
PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2000 1:35 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA USA
maggie...of course agree that quality of teacher is of paramount importance.....in yoga I ask for recommendations from teachers that I respect before I'll take a class or go to a particular yoga school.....I've heard some horror stories of people who've taken yoga from a not great teacher...had people doing headstands before they were ready and such!! A good teacher must know how to modify an exercise or asana rather for individuals, so everyone gets some benefit, is not injured or intimidated.


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