Posts Tagged ‘ acting ’

Oklahoma Rising

June 21, 2013

I am so thrilled to help my friends in Oklahoma recover from the tornados in recent days. As a student at Oklahoma City University, I spent four of my most formative years there.

Even if you can’t come see this wonderful performance, you can help by buying raffle tickets. You could win….Private Pilates Sessions with Moi!

Check out the website and the poster!

OK Rising Poster Small


June 18, 2013

There’s a first for everything and last week I did my first podcast with the wonderful Joel B. New on his podcast, Something New. We discussed what it’s like to be a singing, dancing, acting, Pilates instructor and then sang one of Joel’s songs.

Download here (Episode 13) or enjoy below.


Commitment, Clarity, Excitement

June 8, 2012

Teachers might learn a lot from the acting world. The one thing I’ve found to be imperative in both my acting projects and teaching Pilates: Commitment.

I’ve been working really hard (I’m a workaholic)–reading, practicing, teaching, watching others practice, observing and taking class at all kinds of studios. Guess what: I still don’t know everything that’s out there to know in terms of Pilates.

1. The body is complicated.

2. New research on the subject is infinite and always changing.

3. There are so many different opinions and styles of the method.

Still, I know a lot more than the average person does about Pilates. And yet, my classes still seem to be hit or miss.

I recently taught a class of 28 people and was forced to speak loudly, move quickly and take over the room. I said cues like they were FACT and not only  suggestion. Even adding drama on the last few reps seemed to engage people more fully. That same day I taught a class of 6 people that felt messy, clouded and, quite frankly, boring.

I’m learning that I don’t have to have ALL of the answers to be a good teacher. It’s my job firstly, to be safe, and secondly, to tell my students everything I do know so that they can get the best workout possible. Commit to what you do know and joyfully seek out answers for the rest. Speak like you have a class of 50–not 10, be present so you can be clear with your words, get excited and rock these people’s bodies. Commitment and excitement are key in creating solid classes. I can only go up from here!


The Soles of Your Hands

January 15, 2012

It’s been a few years since I confused the soles of my feet with the palms of my hands. It’s been even longer since I got my right side and my left side confused. But, alas, in the past few months, there have been times I can’t get these simple things straight.

My greatest challenge when practice teaching Pilates is cueing coordination. There are SO many details. “Sit with your knees bent” seems like the simplest instruction, but there are at least five different ways you can do it. And after you figure out the outline of the position, it’s time to focus on the shape of the spine, the pelvis, the neck, the shoulders, the toes and hands.

One time I stuttered to someone to “put the soles of the feet on the mat” when they were on their stomach. Ouch!

My only remedy so far for this issue is a three step process: RECITE, ASSESS, CORRECT/CHALLENGE.

The first thing I had to do when I started teaching was memorize the coordination cues like a script and repeat them over and over. It’s great to think through the exercise and try to casually cue it as it happens in your head, but there’s likely to be a delay, folks. How often do you tell someone a descriptive, complicated story without pausing at some point to process the words you want to use?

So, first I RECITE the (memorized) basics of the exercise.

This gives me time to ASSESS the situation during the first 1-2 reps. Are the shoulders crawling up? Is he/she really rotating the whole upper body, not just the arms? By memorizing the first few lines of each exercise, hopefully you give your brain time to scan the body for any problems.

Lastly, you have (somewhat memorized) CORRECTION and CHALLENGE cues. Once you know how to make the exercise more correct or harder, it’s simple enough to pull from a vast list of imagery or muscular engagement cues. Of course it doesn’t end there. This “step” has to be repeated as the reps add up, hopefully continually changing the way the person does the exercise.

It’s similar to performing. There’s a prepared aspect and an improvised aspect. With 80+ exercises (not including all modifications) that I’ll be tested on for my certification, the preparation is hugely time-consuming, but the improvisation is the most rewarding part. There’s nothing like finding a cue that works well for someone and really making a change in their bodies. That’s why I do what I do!

Why Pilates?

October 20, 2011

The short answer?

Pilates is about conscious movement.

In my study of acting and singing (which still feels very young, although I’ve been doing it for ten or so years), I’ve noticed the need for an uninhibited physical state and balanced movement. No matter how hard I try, I can never get my body to the even, blank canvas that is best for trying on characters and communicating through song. This is a challenge for everyone.

Unconsciously, I suddenly felt the need to find a balanced physical genesis for myself. I believe this is where my work-out “junky” stage began: In college I started running, going to the gym, trying work-out videos, going to more dance classes. I did all these things at different points without commitment and never well! But, I wanted to use my body and I often made discoveries in my singing while exploring movement.

In practicing Pilates for the past two years, I’ve eased my own pain, gained body awareness and a strong sense of proprioception, improved my creative being and built a stronger, more balanced structure for living and practicing my art.

I’m still a work-out whore, trying out all sorts of physical adventures. My summer consisted of cycling, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking (all brand new activities to me). I’m currently itching to try boxing, Alexander Technique and trapeze. But, I come home each night to the solid base of Pilates, which forces me to think, move and live with awareness.