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Welcome to Cynthia Lochard’s Pilates Method March Newsletter…
March is going to be an exciting month at the Pilates Method studio with the run up to CPE and a very special guest, acclaimed Pilates teacher and one of Joseph Pilates’ students, Jay Grimes.
We have an interview with Jay for this newsletter about his memories of working with Joseph Pilates, so please read on…
CPE March 27 and 28
Continuing Professional Education (CPE) is a requirement in order to continue your path in the Pilates Method and this year in Australia we have the pleasure of having our very own Cynthia Lochard presenting it. Cynthia was promoted to level 1 status last year and is now responsible for passing down her knowledge of the method, developed over 34 years of doing Pilates as a dancer and later as a teacher. Now she works alongside Romana, Sari and Juanita helping to pass on the method to teachers and students worldwide.
In addition we have a very special treat - acclaimed Pilates teacher Jay Grimes, one of the “lost elders”, will conclude this years CPE and run a workshop entitled, “In the studio with Jay Grimes.”
Jay Grimes danced professionally for 18 years, and never had an injury. This he attributes entirely to Pilates. He began his studies with Joe Pilates in the mid-sixties, and after Joe’s death continued with Joe’s wife Clara, for another 10 years until her death. Jay began teaching in the original 8th Avenue studio in New York then moved with the studio to 56th Street where he taught alongside (as well as studied with) Romana Kryzanowska and John Winters. Please read on for our interview with Jay.
Interview with Jay Grimes
We spoke to Jay Grimes earlier this month about his memories of working with the man who started it all, Joseph Pilates.
How is Pilates today different from the way Pilates was taught it in Joe’s time?
When you went into Joe's studio you went to work, to grunt and groan and sweat. Too much today has been watered down. Teachers are more worried about the comfort of their students than about changing their bodies. Also, they nit-pick far too much. Pilates is about moving, now. Perfection, if it comes, takes a long time. The Los Angeles Times described Pilates as "gentle stretching where you don't sweat", and unfortunately that's exactly what you get in far too many studios. (I know, however, that is not the case in Cynthia Lochard's studio!)
What is the most important things you learned working with Joseph and Clara?
Joe and Clara worked to develop the instinct and intuition of their teachers. I never heard a single anatomy term from either of them, and yet I learned the body. Through movement. It's all about movement - and trusting the Method.
Can you share with us an anecdote about Joe’s studio?
I suppose the thing people who were there remember most is the deplorable condition of the building and the studio. The building was totally run-down, and the studio had the distinct odor of a gym that had been in use for forty years. Combine that with Joe's larger than life personality and his mercurial moods - - - it was never dull!
You have been quoted to say you were never injured as a dancer because of Pilates? What is it about this exercise system that protects people from injury?
Dancers, like all athletes, develop their muscles according to their needs. And a lot of what is required from a dancer is very unnatural, actually harmful to the body. We simply were not designed to do some of these things. Pilates works the body in a most natural way, correcting alignment issues and developing all of the muscles in the body uniformly. In Pilates you learn not only to use your body correctly, but to use all of it.
What makes a good Pilates teacher?
First of all, you must feel the work in your own body. This takes a minimum of three to five years. If you haven't felt it, you cannot teach it. Then instinct and intuition. And finally, to learn to shut up unless you have something relevant to say.
What would you say to someone who thinks Pilates is a passing fitness fad? What is your hope for Pilates in the future?
I hope and pray that much of what is called Pilates is indeed a passing fitness fad! This work has been around for almost 100 years, and it will be around for at least another 100. Because it works. It works when done correctly, as Joe intended it. All of the "improvements" have been made by people who don't know the work, people who think they are better than the work and want to put their own mark on it. When the wannabes have had their day, the true teachers will still be going strong because they get results. I think the future of Pilates is already happening. There are intensives where groups of top-notch teachers gather to share their expertise and experience, and all are welcome, regardless of where they got their initial training. Eventually there will be fewer studios, but they will all be good studios. The cream always rises to the top.
Have you been to Australia before? What are you looking forward to Down under?
This will be my first visit to Australia. I have heard nothing but great things about the country and the people, and I am looking forward to all of it. I have met quite a few people from Australia, and each of them has been unique and wonderful! There will not be time for everything, but I do hope to make every minute count.
Thank you Bangara and all who supported the Haiti Fund raiser
Thank you to everyone who attended Bangarra Dance Company’s Haiti fundraiser on February 5. Cynthia Lochard who has family in Haiti introduced the evening. Thanks to your generous support, Bangarra raised over $5000 for the Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund.
And of course thank you Bangarra for the beautiful and inspiring performance.
If you are looking for a book to help you workout at home between your studio visits or while you are on holiday, we recommend “Pilates for Beginners” by Kellina Stewart.
The beauty of this book is in its spiral-coiled design, making it easy to prop-up and read while you are performing the exercises at home. It contains instruction on 30 of the most familiar Pilates exercises that are designed to tone and reshape your entire body.