Did you know? We have a sister company called BodyTree Ballet that focuses on conditioning for dancers; all 5 members of the team are in fact ballet teachers besides being Pilates Teachers! We speak to 2 of the 5 members to ask what made them start Pilates in the first place, and how being a Pilates Teacher has helped their dance training AND teaching.

Q1. Introduce yourself

Louisa Lau (LL): I started doing ballet at the age of 5 and continued into the mid-20s. Thereafter, I assisted my teacher with the lower graded classes during the weekday afternoons. Started teaching only in the past one year.

Lydia Tan (LT): My name is Lydia Tan and I am a ballet and pilates teacher. I started dancing as a hobby at the age of 5 and later on decided to pursue ballet full time. I am a graduate from the New Zealand School of Dance and majored in classical ballet. During my studies in New Zealand, I had the opportunity to experience Pilates. 

After graduation and returning back to Singapore, I was teaching ballet as a freelance instructor.  In addition, I decided to take up classes at Pilates BodyTree to continue my pilates training. From there, I joined the teacher training program and have been teaching pilates ever since. 

Q2. What made you decide to take up a Pilates Matwork Teacher Training?

LL: When I first took up the Pilates Matwork Teacher Training, I was a fresh grad. I wanted to learn and understand the Pilates Matwork in depth to help myself address the areas of weakness, so that I may improve in my ballet technique. Part of the reason was affordability, and the other was that Matwork seemed to be the basic entry point to learn the Pilates methodology.

LT: Initially, my teacher and mentor Jane had encouraged me to take up the Pilates Matwork Teacher training. She explained that as a dancer it would be beneficial to my knowledge. 
I thought about it and agreed with her as I during my training sessions I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about pilates. Hence, I decided to join the Matwork training course in 2019. 


Q3. Any “AHA”/Eureka moments you had or what was your biggest takeaway from the matwork program?

LL: At that point in time, it was the realisation of how “tight” my lumbar spine was and was unable to do much flexion. I had a very lordotic lumbar spine and that I had a tight and weak psoas, which explained why I struggled with lifting my legs up the front (devant) while I had no trouble lifting my legs to the back (derriere).

LT: My biggest takeaway from the matwork program is the intention in teaching every piece is really important. Sometimes it is not just about the movement but the reasons why we are doing this movement. 


Q4. How has it (matwork TT) changed/impacted the way you teach your dance classes?

LL: It helped me to understand the bodies (students) in class in a more clinical way in order to help correct/address the respective students’ challenges, and not just based on the aesthetics of the ballet technique.

LT: Since taking the Matwork TT, I’ve incorporated pieces from the matwork syllabus for conditioning for my students. 
I feel that it has helped my students physically whenever they’re trying to achieve dance techniques. Some exercises help to activate and engage muscles that are required in turn out or pirouettes and jumps. 
My students also show better understanding and awareness in their body when they’re trying to achieve their dance techniques. 


Q6. What would you say to another dance teacher who is considering taking up a Pilates Teacher Certification?

LL: The knowledge gained in the course of the teacher training certification means the dance teacher will understand the human anatomy more in-depth and have a repertoire of Matwork exercises, which will be of value-add in teaching and helping their dance students, particularly when it comes to training exercises for the dance students.

LT: If you have the opportunity, go for it! Learning never stops. Pilates really helped me as a student and a dancer. I wish I had done it sooner. 

ABOUT LYDIA TAN
● Diploma in Dance (New Zealand Qualifications Authority Mana Tohu Mātauranga o Aotearoa)
● Royal Academy of Dance Advance 2 Certification with Distinction
● Bodytree Academy (BTA) Pilates Matwork teacher
● Bodytree Academy (BTA) Certified Comprehensive Pilates Teacher

Lydia started ballet lessons at the age of 5 years and later on also picked up tap, jazz and modern dance under the guidance of Ms Sharon Liew. She then decided to further pursue dance at the New Zealand school of dance as a classical major in 2015 and graduated 3 years later with a Diploma in dance.

During her time in New Zealand, Lydia got the opportunity to learn pilates as part of the full time program curriculum and hence personally experienced the benefits of pilates for a dancer. After returning home from studying overseas, she decided she wanted to share her knowledge of dance as a teacher instead of a dancer. Therefore deciding to further her skills by adding Pilates teaching to enhance and compliment her teaching to dance.

Through her journey to being a certified Pilates teacher, Lydia is inspired to teach dancers and non dancers, share the benefits of pilates and aspires to show her students that pilates is not just a form of exercise but a lifestyle.

ABOUT LOUISA LAU

  • Bachelor in Business Management (Merit), Marketing major
  • BodyTree Academy (BTA) Certified Pilates Teacher
  • Fletcher Pilates® Professional Teacher
  • Pilates Method Alliance (PMA®) Certified Pilates Teacher
  • Certified BASI Pilates® Pilates for Dancers
  • Dance Teacher & Health Professional, Level 1 & 2 Certificate (Perfect Form Physiotherapy)
  • Pelvic Floor & Core Foundations (Burrell Education)
  • BTA Prehab Trainer™
  • Intermediate Vocational Ballet Certificate (Royal Academy of Dancing)
  • Gymnastics Bodies Athlete Certificate
  • Kinesio Taping (KT1 & KT2) Certificate (Kinesio Taping Association)
  • Dual Zone Myofascial Release Course (Functional Training Institute)
  • EBFA Barefoot Training Specialist® Level 1 and 2
  • BARE® Workout Instructor
  • Progressing Ballet Technique registered Teacher

Louisa started ballet at the age of five. Her passion for ballet prompted her to aim for to improve her dance technique as she progressed through the Royal Academy of Dance graded examinations, and subsequently led to her embarkment on learning the Pilates methodology.

She took up Pilates Matwork teacher training in year 2005 to strengthen her core, to help her in ballet. Through her journey with Pilates, Louisa discovered tremendous improvement in core strength with a supple body. Having experienced the physical, mental and emotional benefits of Pilates, as well as the improved mind-body awareness and body alignment, Louisa was inspired to commit teaching Pilates fully, and completed the Fletcher Comprehensive Programme.

Having maintained her Pilates conditioning regime during the years in the corporate job, she found that despite the six years hiatus from ballet classes, and that being a lot older by then in terms of years of age, Louisa experienced and noticed an improvement in her ability to dance stronger than before, and in particular improvement in her ballet technique. With her curiosity on the application of Pilates and love for dance and movement, she went on to explore more dance genres from Jazz, Contemporary, Lindy Hop, Flamenco, etc. Her life’s mission is teach others to reach their movement potential and also discover for themselves the benefits of Pilates.

Our next Pilates Matwork Teacher Certification intake is happening in January 2022, find out more here.

To find out more about BodyTree Ballet, email info@bodytreeballet.com

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