Having been filled with information, inspiration and wisdom after a day of workshops, our day ended with an unprecedented and history making event. Thanks to Kyria Sabin, of Fletcher Pilates we were privileged to hear a panel discussion with master teachers from almost every Elder’s lineage. The panel consisted of Brett Howard, Amy Alpers (Romana Kryzanowska), Michele Larson (Eve Gentry), Deborah Lesson & Jillian Hessel (Carola Trier), Cara Ressser & Blossom Leilani Crawford (Kathy Grant), Kyria Sabin & Diane Severino (Ron Fletcher.) Moderated by founder of Pilates Anytime, Kristi Cooper, this fun and lively discussion kept me on the edge of my chair.
A bit of intensity filled the air when Brent Howard and Amy Alpers talked about why Romana felt she was the one teacher-heir to Pilates’ work and how she felt about Ron Fletcher. They explained her unique background as a classical Ballerina where as the others were modern dancers and choreographers during a time of prolific creativity in the modern dance world. This explains why Romana would not be interested in taking the work and enhance or add to it, yet Carola, Kathy and Ron naturally felt the need to enhance the work for their own purposes and background however, never fundamentally changed the work with the exception of using a neutral pelvis although Ron never liked this term. Throughout the discussion there were two clear threads of similarity. One, was the adherence to the principles of Pilates’ work, ie. looking at the whole body, providing healing to broken bodies through precise movements, and using the breath to facilitate movement and cleanse the body to name a few. Secondly, was a clear reverence shown among the teachers for one another as they talked about their respective elder’s mutual respect for each other, their communication, cross referrals and friendships. Cara and Blossom talked about having been sent to the other elders to learn. Julian Hessel talked about her unique experience of training with three of the elders: Kathy Grant, Carola Trier and Ron Fletcher.
Even though there exists a split between the two groups in the Pilates World, the Romana people with the United States Pilates Association and the Pilates Method Alliance with its large umbrella of many teachers and schools from different lineages, it was clear that the similarities are greater than the differences, the intentions and purposes are the same and the respect for one another’s lineage and differences in this group was there without a doubt. It is up to all of us teachers to maintain that respect by learning about and from teachers of different lineages and never forgetting the underlying purpose of our work, to help and heal people’s bodies holistically with movement.
Stay tuned for more conference highlights.
All American Betsy