Many colleges today are offering affordable certification for dance students. Photo courtesy JCC Indianapolis

This Is the Easiest Way to Get Your Pilates Certification

Many of today's savvy dance students are accruing practical skills alongside their bachelor's degrees. In particular, some pursue Pilates certifications to gain a deeper understanding of anatomy and kinesiology as well as the opportunity to earn high wages and work flexible hours. (New Pilates teachers make about $35 per mat class, and master trainers can make more than $100 per private session.) While teacher training at a studio can be expensive and time-consuming, more and more college dance departments are offering deeply discounted certifications.


Where to Get Certified

Some of the most unique programs available today:

University of Wisconsin—Madison

UW–Madison's program has a high job-placement rate. Photo by Palmer Matthews, courtesy UW–Madison

Style: A mix of classical and contemporary. "The repertory is classical, but there is heavy emphasis on anatomy and imagery," says Collette Stewart, who coordinates and teaches in the program. "I teach neutral spine and modify exercises as needed for a more therapeutic approach."

Certification: Comprehensive

Cost: No additional cost beyond credit-hour payments

Program length: 20 credit hours (approximately 3 credits per semester) over 2.5 years, including 2 summer courses

What makes the program unique? This relatively new program has a high job-placement rate. "All our graduates either have jobs teaching Pilates or are working towards graduate degrees in physical therapy," says Stewart. Both of the program's instructors also teach in Pilates studios and offer practical knowledge that they feel benefits students when it's time to look for a job.

Indiana University Bloomington

An IU alum works with a client at the local Jewish Community Center. Photo courtesy JCC Indianapolis

Style: Contemporary

Certification: Mat

Cost: $725 for fees and testing

Length: 40 hours over one semester

What makes the program unique? IU also offers yoga certification, which along with Pilates is offered every other year. A student can leave with a BFA in dance as well as both certifications.

Cornish College of the Arts

Cornish students can intern at Dance for Parkinson's. Photo by Don Ipoc via danceforparkinsons.org

Style: Classical. The program's core instructor, Michele Miller, studied directly under Romana Kryzanowska, one of Joseph Pilates' original pupils.

Certification: Mat

Cost: $450 for the required summer intensive course

Length: One semester plus one 10-day summer course

What makes the program unique? Cornish students interested in movement education can elect to pursue a specialized teaching track, which includes a practicum in a local elementary school as well as optional internships with Pacific Northwest Ballet and Dance for Parkinson's.

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Stark Photo Productions, Courtesy Harlequin

Why Your Barre Can Make or Break Your At-Home Dance Training

Throughout the pandemic, Shelby Williams, of Royal Ballet of Flanders (aka "Biscuit Ballerina"), has been sharing videos that capture the pitfalls of dancers working from home: slipping on linoleum, kicking over lamps and even taking windows apart at the "barre." "Dancers aren't known to be graceful all of the time," says Mandy Blackmon, PT, DPT, OSC, CMTPT, head physical therapist/medical director for Atlanta Ballet. "They tend to fall and trip."

Many dancers have tried to make their home spaces as safe as possible for class and rehearsal by setting up a piece of marley, like Harlequin's Dance Mat, to work on. But there's another element needed for taking thorough ballet classes at home: a portable barre.

"Using a barre is kinda Ballet 101," says 16-year-old Haley Dale, a student in her second year at American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. She'd bought a portable barre from Harlequin to use at her parents' home in Northern Virginia even before the pandemic hit. "Before I got it, honestly I would stay away from doing barre work at home. Now I'm able to do it all the time."

Blackmon bought her 15-year-old stepdaughter a freestanding Professional Series Ballet Barre from Harlequin early on in quarantine. "I was worried about her injuring herself without one," she admits.

What exactly makes Harlequin's barres an at-home must-have, and hanging on to a chair or countertop so risky? Here are five major differences dancers will notice right away.

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December 2020