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.
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.
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.
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.
James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)
Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.
Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.
I'd been a professional dancer for five years when I realized the pain I'd been feeling in my hip and down my sciatic nerve was not going away. I had been treating it for two years as we dancers do—with regular visits to my masseuse, physical therapy, baths, ice and lots of Aleve—but I never stopped dancing. It finally dawned on me that if I kept going at the speed I was going (which was, well, speedy), the pain would only get more severe and unrelenting, and I might never dance again.
I told myself I'd take two months off, and all would be better.
That first morning when I woke up at 10 am, I had no idea what to do with myself. My life until that moment had been dictated by class and rehearsal, every hour accounted for. How should I fill the huge swath of time ahead of me?