My name is Patricia Magistrado, and I am the intern at The Pilates Project for the next month. As a graduating senior at Biotechnology High School, I get to spend the last month of the school year at an internship of my choice. My interest in Pilates and my background in ballet ultimately led to my decision to work here.
I have been dancing ballet for almost fifteen years now. It’s a form of art that requires a tremendous amount of flexibility and strength. Ever since Joseph Pilates began teaching in the United States, ballet dancers have been studying his technique as a way of cross-training and gaining additional strength and body awareness. Today, Pilates has become the most popular method of supplemental exercise for dancers of all disciplines.
While working here as an intern, I’ll have the opportunity to take class on a regular basis. Over the next few weeks, I will have the opportunity to observe the effects of Pilates. Expect some weekly blog posts about my experience.
I’ve never taken daily Pilates classes before, but I start to notice a difference almost immediately. I have struggled with experiencing soreness in my hips after a long day. When I am dancing, I often feel that I am “gripping” the muscles in my hips, which causes them to feel sore. This week, I have experienced almost no such discomfort. In my Pilates classes, I am often reminded to “relax” my pelvis and focus more on my core muscles.
I find that certain exercises are very challenging for me, while others feel much easier. As a dancer, I’m always using the same muscles while consistently neglecting others. I notice that many movements in Pilates can be translated into steps that are common in ballet. For example, in the Swan, my back reaches a position that is similar to an arabesque. The single leg pull with straight legs is very similar to a grande battement. However, while I may be doing similar movements, I am learning to approach them with a different attitude. All movements, even a simple leg lift can be initiated from the core. I am using different muscles to execute the same movements that I do in ballet. I’ve also started learning about the importance of breath. In ballet, I often find myself holding my breath as I’m dancing. In Pilates, I am instructed to coordinate my breath with my movements.
Frankly, I am quite surprised with the difference I can already feel with myself. I feel more coordinated and much more aware of my muscles when I’m exercising. I’m excited to see what happens within the next few weeks.