Attending the Pilates Method Alliance Conference 2011 for the first time was eye-opening and refreshing. It enabled me to connect with not only the history of Joseph Pilates' work (chatting with Mary Bowen and Lolita San Miguel, two "Distinguished Elders" who studied directly with Joe, and seeing a great documentary on the influential work of Eve Gentry), but also the future of the field (I loved Dr. Carol Davies’ pre-conference workshop on fascia and keynote address about the growing recognition that biomechanics, functional movement, and energetics are key to restoring clients bodies and lives. So present, in fact, were biomechanic and fascial-minded work, that Rebekah Rotstein, Barbara Stamis and I were inspired to nickname ourselves Fascianista™'s! ).
Of equal value was meeting, working with, and socializing with my contemporaries (from 27 countries!) who will become the teachers of tomorrow. (I actually got too much attention from my peers, thanks to BASI’s Rael Isaacowitz’ frequent shout-outs of yours truly while my mat was front and center in his Ultra Marathon 3 hour Mat Class. Sorry, Rael, I wasn’t sore the next day – I’ll work harder next time!).
Between past and future, an impressive array of workshops offered education from some of the current brightest minds in the field: I was honored to help assist Madeline Black, my Passing the Torch mentor, noted for her smart integration of exacting alignment, biodynamics and energetics, and to experience Elizabeth Larkham’s unceasingly detailed class, otherworldly presence and astounding body of work, among many others).
Reviewing some of the newest products from manufacturers and educators (a highlight was Elizabeth Larkham giving me a private session on Balanced Body’s Rockin’ Reformer, and the unveiling of the Allegro 2 – a beautifully and intuitively designed Reformer/apparatus that looks even better in person than in its marketing materials), left colleagues /conference buds Rebekah Rotstein of New York and Barbara Stamis of Santa Monica and I in awe of how Balanced Body continues innovating by providing well-designed, thoroughly useful equipment. That, and they’re so plain nice!
Other gems during the conference were its evening events, including a sweet reception hosted by Balanced Body to recognize the graduates from its Passing the Torch Mentorship Program (full list here), and a rocking party hosted by Pilates Style and Pilates Anytime.
While digesting all that I took in, I’m already looking forward to next year. A little trend forecasting: as Pilates unshackles itself from a history of lawsuits, in-fighting, and egos, I think it's safe to say that with a renewed focus on all things bio-mechanic, this year marked the birth of the Fascianista™!
For more information on the PMA click here