Your Degree, Plus Pilates

Teaching Pilates has long been a great gig for performers. It's a flexible job that builds on dancers' skills and offers a steady paycheck. Today, college programs are making the career super-accessible by offering Pilates certification. By the time students graduate, they have the physical benefits of the method and a source of income that can carry them from one audition to the next. Here are three dance programs where students can get certified.


Bloomington, IN

Degree offered: BFA in dance (the BS in ballet is not affiliated)

Certification: STOTT PILATES Intensive Mat-Plus

Cost: Up to $350 in additional credit fees, plus about $450 for books, materials and exams

Program length: 10 hours per weekend for four weekends spread over one semester, plus a six-hour advanced mat course

Fitting it in: To graduate, all dance BFAs must create a unique cross-training plan, logging at least 90 minutes of additional conditioning per week. Pilates certification classes count towards this requirement.

Networking: The dance program shares instructors with a local studio, Vibe Yoga and Pilates Studio. Many students also teach through the university's recreational sports program.

The program also offers a 200-hour Vinyasa yoga certification. Students may complete both.


Seattle, WA

Degree offered: BFA in dance

Certification: Cornish College Pilates Mat Teaching Certificate

Cost: Free for dance majors, plus $400 for the required summer teacher-certification intensive

Program length: Two hours of Pilates mat per week for one semester (an elective that also counts toward the BFA), plus 10 observation hours and a 30-hour, 10-day summer course

Fitting it in: Certification is built around the completion of three courses already required for dance majors: teaching methods, kinesiology and movement foundations.

Networking: Faculty member Michele Miller runs Halfmoon Acupuncture & Pilates, where recently certified students teach two months of free classes to the public. Some of Cornish's certified alumni have stayed on at Miller's studio as paid teachers.

Recent alumni can join in the summer course to get certified.


Philadelphia, PA

Degree offered: BS in dance

Certification: 450-hour Drexel Pilates Training Program, which includes reformer, tower and barrel work. It helps prepare students for the Pilates Method Alliance certification exam.

Cost: Free for dance majors, $100 per term for other Drexel students, $450 per term for non-Drexel students. This does not include the cost of 30 mandatory private sessions.

Program length: Approximately 10 hours per week for one year

Fitting it in: Training program classes are separate from dance requirements. Students must make room in their schedules for extra classes, seminars and lectures.

Networking: Director Jennifer Morley invites local Pilates studio owners to observe training. “A lot of studios were looking for a place to find teachers," she says. “They watch labs. And at the end of the year, we have an advanced reformer showcase."

Drexel Pilates certification is open to the public, giving university students the opportunity to interact with nondancers.

Latest Posts

Ashley Daigle. Photo by Sydney Barrett, Courtesy Daigle

The Pandemic Is Changing Dancers' Bodies and We Need to Honor That

During this pandemic, we dancers have not been living in our normal bodies. Even though we may not see a physical change, on the inside, our bodies have altered. Use me as an example: Before COVID-19, I was a 28-year-old healthy, active human being. But after my recovery, a 15-minute abdominal workout practically destroyed my hips, kidneys and my entire dance career.