APPRENTICESHIPS/ 1-2-4 Year Programs for Advanced Teacher-Training, Mentoring

Karen H. Carlson’s advanced Pilates teacher-training programs are one, two, and four-year apprenticeships geared toward professional development for the seasoned movement practitioner. Participants are accepted into the program by the director’s approval, fulfillment of prerequisites, a previous certification, or entrance exam. The program is focused on sound anatomical foundations, biomechanics and kinesiology. It places a premium on functional movement and somatic organization. The bulk of the program is dispensed in twelve weekend intensives [3 days] that include academic as well as practical learning. An encyclopedia of classical, elemental and expanded forms is demonstrated and discussed for mat and all pieces of classical Pilates apparatus. There are written [6] and practical [8] exams as well as student teaching and observation hours. Recognized in 2004 by the Pilates Method Alliance (Miami, Fla.) as a comprehensive training program, the coursework can be taken as advanced training or by director’s permission as continuing education and enrichment.

The seven equipment-based weekend intensives required for certificate of completion can also be taken separately as modular workshops for professional development. In fact, the core of the program was developed teaching workshops at U. S. universities and studios in Ontario, Canada, primarily Toronto (1995-present). The weekend workshops present in lecture-demonstration format the full scope of exercise forms on Mat and all pieces of classical Pilates apparatus including traditional and expanded vocabulary. Those attending observe as each exercise form is built from its most elemental parts to its most sophisticated refined rendition. Each movement is developed, demonstrated and discussed with an eye for biomechanics and kinesiology and a reverence for Joe’s principles. The equipment-based course units are assembled into succinct presentations with functional analyses for each and every Pilates form.

The five other weekend training programs are based in the art and practice of teaching: 3 academic, 2 practical. The first academic class opens the program with Relational Anatomy offering a review and a ground-work for the program. As instructors, we are agents of change. Affecting change requires a transfer of concept and sensation, a transfer of information through the physical body of the client. For effective teaching, clear intention, accurate anatomical information and a functional understanding of movement must support and inform your practice.

The Practical is conveyed during 2 weekends of ‘Public-Private’ Sessions. To teach, the instructor must then be able to engage, connect, and motivate each client. The ‘Public-Private’ format offers a unique opportunity to observe an accomplished professional at work. It gives students privy to a series of improvised private sessions as both subject and observer. Each lesson is followed by a Q. & A. where students can ask about spontaneous teaching decisions, exercise choices, sequence, internal logic or the arc of the lesson. Client, teacher and students all participate in discourse.

The Art of Teaching is addressed in Theory and Practice I and II, the two weekend units that wrap up the end of each academic year. These series of lectures define sophisticated human function, effective communication, ethics, the art of “seeing” and how to address common problems. Guest specialists expand the scope of learning with specialty sections such as neuro-anatomy, reflexes, lumbo-pelvic dysfunction and gait. Coursework is supported by required studio and public-private observation hours. The practice of the art is rooted in an understanding of Joe’s basic principles of organization and movement and is substantiated by contemporary thought and the application of current movement science.

Effective practice requires a complete facility with the vocabulary of the Method and a full comprehension of the Pilates apparatus. Instructors must know how to set up and use these versatile tools and machines individually for each client. This can only be learned through dedicated practice of the Method. Mentoring is a large and vital component of the Apprenticeship programs and is provided through private lessons and consultations through the 1-2-4 year programs. Required student teaching hours are an essential aspect of the program. Students receive constructive criticism in a supportive atmosphere. Rigorous academic and practical testing is expected.


Copyright 2004 Karen H. Carlson All rights reserved.