Pilates Olympics Extravaganza! Fantastic!

May 25, 2010 at 10:14 pm 9 comments

Did you miss the Pilates World Games Extravaganza?!  I kid you not…it was fantastic!  I hope you’ll go next year!  Please take a moment to read on and plan to attend next year!

Imagine a big, lovely Pilates studio in the penthouse of a building on 5th Avenue and 42nd Street:  Pilates on Fifth.  50 participants, 10 judges and about 10 assistants.  Surely there were more people there:  photographers, curious on-lookers, Pilates Style staff and PMA representatives.  Many different people, many different styles of Pilates all with one goal:  Have fun in the name of raising money for Pilates in Schools, the PMA’s initiative!

The studio was packed before 9am.  Sun streaming into the studio, men and women dressed in their Pilates best ready and willing, not knowing what was about to happen.  Truly, none of us knew what to expect!  The studio was filled with anticipation.  Buzzing!

I was one of the 10 judges for the competition.  I was given a clipboard with several pages of information…when I read about the events and how to judge them…and started giggling right away!  Rolling Exercises on the mat blindfolded?!  Short Spine with an egg between your heels?!  Swimming on the small barrel while reciting the alphabet backwards?!  I knew this was going to be a fantastic day!

The judges and participants were all from different style of Pilates.  That’s part of what was so special about it.  We started off the day with a classical Pilates mat class.  Appropriate respect to Mr. Pilates.  And then…we all worked hard and got silly!

Yes, I did judge the blindfolded rolling contest!  Fantastic fun!  Along with Brooke Siler and Connie Borho we watched a slew of fantastic Pilates teachers tie a silk tie around their eyes, roll back and forth along a taped midline on a mat for 10 reps and hold tight hoping they stayed on the line!  Oh, it was tough!  It is tough!  Try it!  You won’t believe how you’ll concentrate!  Rolling Like a Ball, Open Leg Rocker, Boomerang and The Seal!  It was difficult, hysterical, amazing…and all for a great cause!  I would absolutely do this with my clients to challenge their concentration and control…and to have a bit of fun together!

What was next for me?  With Rebecca Leone, I judged another fantastic group of teachers on the high chair.  They sat up tall doing Seated Tendon Stretch or “dorsi-flexion” with a pad across their laps with a stack of Dixie cups balancing on top!  Fantastic!  Working to keep their thighs still, they worked the pedal up and down with their feet!  Totally fun!

I observed a group do Going Up Front on the wunda chair with big, full glasses of water.  Of course, they were not to spill a drop.  Good luck!  It was great…and did get messy!

What else?  There was that Swimming with the backward alphabet, The Hundred pumping arms to a metronome while solving math problems!  Relay races in pairs…but…the pairs were tied together at the thighs doing Standing Arm Springs off the Cadillac and running to the wunda chairs doing tandem standing press downs then tandem work on the small barrel with balls, then the reformer with balls then Side Sit Ups in pairs on big balls.  It was a laugh-fest!

Who came up with these stunts/games/crazy ideas?!  Katherine and Kimberly, the owners of Pilates on Fifth.  They’d been wanting to do this for years.  I’m so glad they put it together with the support of Pilates Style, the PMA and the Pilates community at large.

And I mean at large!  OK…only 50 participants, but…here we were in NYC, yet there were people from Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle and…BARCELONA, SPAIN!  What?!  Yes, two incredible participants flew in from Spain!  That’s beautiful!

This event made me forget the days when every school of Pilates fought against one another.  Those days need to be gone.  It’s events like this that show us that that can be eradicated.  There is no room for those who work against one another any longer.  I don’t mind repeating myself here…I am known to say this, “We might not like the style of Pilates the other teaches, but we might like each other as people!”  And this event was filled with people who really liked each other.  Can you wrap your head around that relay event?  Specifically picture this:  One woman was rather petite, from Spain and teaches Peak Pilates.  Her partner was rather tall, from NY and teaches classical Pilates.  They speak different languages in many ways, yet they were literally joined at the hip smiling and laughing strongly working these Pilates events…together!  It was very special to see team after team of mixed styles and personas working together!

And judging the events…the 10 of us ran the gamut of Pilates styles, yet we agreed on nearly everything!  We set all differences aside and enjoyed!

If it just takes practice to advance within a Pilates exercise, I’m quite certain it’s the same way in other exercises of life.  If we just practice patience, acceptance and understanding, then perhaps we will become so comfortable with these things that they will be normal!  Perhaps we can accept each other in Pilates.

The Extravaganza participants, Suzanne Gerber from Pilates Style, Celeste Zopich from PMA, Katherine, Kimberly and our wonderful judges made it a really special day!

I hope you’ll be there next year!

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Lower Abdominals: How can we teach our clients (and ourselves) to connect? Gym Mentality: How to Win Over the Gym Pilates Client

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kimberly Corp  |  May 26, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Thank YOU Shari! It was such a fun day and we are so grateful and honored that you agreed to be a judge. We couldn’t have done it without you! Everyone’s enthusiasm helped make the day a success. We love your blog and thank you for taking the time to write up the event…can’t wait for more people next year! xoxoKimberly and Katherine

  • 2. Megan Berry  |  May 26, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    It was an AMAZING day, fun, challenging, funny and profound. I had a ridiculous amount of fun and worked my whole being in a way that could not happen in any other environment. I HOPE this becomes an annual event. One of the best days of Pilates I’ve ever had!!!! 🙂 Thanks for such an authentic description of the day.

  • 3. Celeste Zopich  |  May 28, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Thank you for your open minded participation as a judge in this groundbreaking event. You have written a beautiful and inspirational account of the day. Many thanks to all of the judges and participants. And many more thanks to Pilates Style for sponsoring, and Katherine and Kimberly Corp for conceiving such a fun and fabulous event. This day was an ideal representation of the power of community and community building in our world of Pilates. Kudos to all!
    On behalf of the PMA, and as the Chair of the Pilates in the Schools committee, I would also like to thank everyone for their participation in this event as a fundraiser for our important PIlates in the Schools project.

    Celeste Zopich

  • 4. Jodi Brinkman  |  June 3, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    i had so much fun meeting the girls from all over the country and world! i keep telling my clients when they ask how it was, that it was challeging, humbling, exciting, and so much fun! iand they now brag that their teacher is a gold and silver medalist student! i can’t wait to meet more great people next year!

    p.s. i was tied to celia (barcelona peak pilates girl) but from cleveland 🙂

  • 5. Connie Borho  |  July 31, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    The Pilates Extravaganza day was full of fun, good-natured (and hysterical) competition, and good-will that included students and teachers from all schools of Pilates, and from all over the world. Hopefully the Pilates community will continue to come together with open hearts and smiles, especially for a great cause. I was so happy to meet you and the other judges and to experience this wonderful day together. We should all thank Suzanne Gerber, PilatesStyle editor, for her incredible brainchild, and Kimberly and Katherine for throwing such a great event. Hope I see you next year! Connie

    • 6. theverticalworkshop  |  August 3, 2010 at 11:14 pm

      Hi, Connie!
      Thank you for adding your thoughts about it! It was great spending time with you there!
      I look forward to next year’s event, too!
      – Shari

  • […] Pilates Olympics Extravaganza! Fantastic!2010/05/25 […]

  • […] Pilates Olympics Extravaganza! Fantastic!2010/05/25 […]

  • 9. The Vertical Workshop's Pilates Teacher Blog  |  December 6, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    […] Pilates Olympics Extravaganza! Fantastic!2010/05/25 […]


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