Joe and Clara Pilates represent the hub of the wheel of Pilates. Each of the spokes of the wheel is represented by the First Generation Teachers who worked directly with Joe and Clara.
Each spoke of the wheel is of equal value. Without the balance of the spokes, the wheel it not true and it does not roll with ease. The tire of the wheel is all Pilates teachers who pass the wisdom of the hub to their clients. These teachers are fortunate to have had the opportunity to study with one of the spokes for an extended period of time.
That was my old metaphor.
This is my new metaphor.
The reason for diversity within the spokes came from Joe. Oral history from those who learned from Joe suggests that he gave different exercise routines within his work for different people. Therefore, our First Generation each preserved the work as they experienced it in the gym. Thus the beginning of the arguments of what is original and what is contemporary.
We are fortunate to have a few of these original disseminators of the work still active teaching and passing on the heritage; Lolita San Miguel and Mary Bowen. Time is passing and the wheel is rolling onward. The Second Generation who studied with the original spokes of the wheel is legion due to the work of those First Generation pioneers. In turn many of these teachers are passing on the work to the next generation. Schools of Pilates have trained many fine new Third Generation educators. The diversity of opinion continues to evolve due to selective memory, chronology of study, and science.
The wheel continues expand. The tire will have thicker tread as the students of the next generation will mature in practice and become the next leaders on the path. In countries all over the world students who were considered new are leaders within the world community.
I have been teaching Pilates for over 30 years. I have been privileged to see the growth of my students and the students of my fellow colleagues move forward. Many of these young teachers are developing workshops, working as guest teachers in studio abroad, and teaching at the Pilates Method Alliance Annual Meeting and other conferences.
It is good to see that the work will continue. As for me, I would like to follow the example of teachers like Kathy Grant and Ron Fletcher who taught for 80 + years. Without them, I am not sure the hub would have continued. I also want to encourage and celebrate the younger teachers. They are the future and the more honor and consideration that we give them, the more respect will can enjoy.
I can think of three who are special examples. One works in my studio and was not trained by me. I am proud of her professional demeanor, respect for her fellow teachers, and her ambition to hold the tradition through example and hard work. Another teacher that I did train has stepped forward to become a real personality in the Pilates world and it heartened me that she and I were equal members of a presenter group at a big conference held out of the USA. I have a dear friend that I have known for years. He has worked relentlessly and will be a keeper of one of the major spokes in the original hub.
If you teach Pilates, you are part of the wheel. Let’s roll forward!