My first serious commitment to dance was more than the first step onto the dance floor. My teachers were clear in giving homage to those pioneers who had gone before. The Pilates work is based on this tradition. Most of us never knew Joe. Many of us were born after he died. Our relationship to Joseph Pilates is based on The First Generation of Master Teachers and their devotion over many years to practice and teaching the gifts that were given to them by Joe and Clara. Each represents a lineage of the work we now call Pilates.
When I begin class on the first day we stand in a circle. I like to use the analogy of the wheel with the spokes radiating outward to form the wheel that is a perfect circle. Pilates, Joe and Clara represent the hub or center of the wheel. The major spokes that hold up the symmetry of the wheel are the First Generation.
The greater circle of community is each us as students who diligently practice and search for truth in teaching. If one spoke is weak, the whole wheel is not true. Therefore it is our responsibility to bear our share of the knowledge and to support all lineages.
The following poem has been with me since I was in my teens. I will share the last measures. For each of you who have taught me, I place you within the conceit or what is understood as extended metaphor from the last stanzas of John Donne’s poem
A Valediction Forbidding Mourning: Poems of John Donne, vol I. E.K. Chambers, ed.
London, Lawrence and Bullen, 1896. 51 –52.
Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to aery thinness beat.
If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fix’d foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th’ other do.
And though it in the center sit,
Yet, when the other far doth roam,
It leans and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.
So wilt thy be to me, who must,
Like th’ other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.
EACH OF YOU ARE MY TEACHERS… WE ARE CONNECTED… WE WORK TOGETHER OVER DISTANCE AND TIME…THANK YOU FOR KEEPING MY CIRCLE TRUE!