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.

Dance on Broadway
Courtesy Boneau/Bryan-Brown

If "Fosse/Verdon" whet your appetite for the impeccable Gwen Verdon, then Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon is the three-course meal you've been craving. The new documentary—available now on Amazon for rental or purchase—dives into the life of the Tony-winning performer and silver-screen star lauded for her charismatic dancing.

Though she's perhaps most well-known today as Bob Fosse's wife and muse, that's not even half of her story. For starters, she'd already won four Tonys before they wed, making her far more famous in the public eye than he was at that point in his career. That's just one of many surprising details we learned during last night's U.S. premiere of Merely Marvelous. Believe us: You're gonna love her even more once you get to know her. Here are eight lesser-known tidbits to get you started.

Keep reading... Show less
What Dancers Eat
Lindsay Thomas

Every dancer knows that how you fuel your body affects how you feel in the studio. Of course, while breakfast is no more magical than any other meal (despite the enduring myth that it's the most important one of the day), showing up to class hangry is a recipe for unproductive studio time.

So what do your favorite dancers eat in the morning to set themselves up for a busy rehearsal or performance day?

Keep reading... Show less
Simon Soong, Courtesy DDT

When it comes to dance in the U.S., companies in the South often find themselves overlooked—sometimes even by the presenters in their own backyard. That's where South Arts comes in. This year, the regional nonprofit launched Momentum, an initiative that will provide professional development, mentorship, touring grants and residencies to five Southern dance companies.

Keep reading... Show less
Alice Pennefather, Courtesy ROH

You ever just wish that Kenneth MacMillan's iconic production of Romeo and Juliet could have a beautiful love child with the 1968 film starring Olivia Hussey? (No, not Baz Luhrmann's version. We are purists here.)

Wish granted: Today, the trailer for a new film called Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words was released, featuring MacMillan's choreography and with what looks like all the cinematic glamour we could ever dream of:

Keep reading... Show less


Get Dance Magazine in your inbox