If you want to be strong, try Pilates
Find out how Pilates can be a great addition for you to gain strength that you never knew was already inside you...
Joseph Pilates was the founder of Pilates and when he moved to NYC in 1923 and set up a studio there, many of his clients were famous dancers of the time, including Martha Graham and George Balanchine. This new way of moving was fantastic for dancers as it allowed them to use deep core muscles to gain strength they never knew they were capable of, that in turn helped them become better dancers and also helped prevent and rehabilitate injury.
Today Pilates has adapted and changed as many teachers have their own style and flare, plus new ideas of how to perform the movements to make them more varied. However, one thing that stays the same are the principles of Pilates and they are: Core, Concentration, Control, Flow, Precision and Breath.
These 6 principles are at the centre of everything in Pilates. They dictate how you move and enable you to do it well and reap the many benefits when you adhere to these 6 things at all times.
When I first started Pilates, I was 25 and I hadn't really done it before. I took classes whilst I was training in NYC at Broadway Dance Center and it totally changed my body's strength and the way I moved. I couldn't believe I had so many muscles I'd never even used fully before-and they were there the whole time!
Pilates focuses on the smaller, intricate, core based muscles and by doing this, it helps you become so strong and capable of becoming an even better dancer because of this.
What was interesting to me back when I first started, was that in my first few lessons I wasn't very good at all! I couldn't do what appeared to be easy movements-I just didn't have the strength in those deep core muscles yet. But what was even more fascinating to me, was that after consistently practicing Pilates over a few weeks, I noticed I now could do all of the moves and was getting stronger as each class went by. It was a revelation.
As a result from training my deep core muscles, I found I was able to move easier, hold turns better (especially in Ballet class) and generally felt super strong in my body and that gave me confidence to trust my body more, which in turn meant I tried new things in class more.
I fully believe Pilates should be a staple to any dancer's training and wellness programme-it does wonders for creating a strong body, which helps in all dance disciplines, plus it allows you to be completely focused on the moves, keeping you in the present moment and mindful as you workout.
If you have tried Pilates, leave us a comment below and let us know your thoughts-do you enjoy this way of moving? Have you noticed the benefits of Pilates in your dance practice? And if you haven't tried Pilates yet, then definitely find a beginner YouTube video to have a go and see why we are such big fans!