Tabitha Poh was a dancer turned ballet teacher and also spent some time working in a corporate position, before leaving to pursue a career in Pilates. We take a seat on the Spine Corrector to find out more on her transition from part time teacher to full time, about her role as Managing Director of BodyTree Academy, and ask, “How do I become a Pilates Teacher?”
You’re the Managing Director of BodyTree Academy. What does that entail?
Firstly, I am also a Pilates teacher under Pilates BodyTree and Dance conditioning teacher under BodyTree Ballet. I average around 20-25 hours of teaching a week and I find great joy when my clients tell me that they can feel a positive change in the way they move, this usually means they are no longer in pain, or that they feel that they have more strength and awareness in their favourite activities.
I am also the partnership manager for BodyTree Group, which means that I meet and maintain contact with our partners, and seek out potential opportunities for collaboration. My role for BodyTree Group also involves overseeing our product line and e-commerce shop.
I recently took over from Kris Ng as Managing Director of BodyTree Academy. In my new role there is a lot of planning involved to deliver courses, but also to make our programs relevant and accessible during the pandemic since we can no longer fly in speakers, nor gather in large groups to learn together. I think that this is an exciting position to be in as this opens up areas that were once “barriers’ and also we get to look at how we can improve our in house courses to be applicable to current times.
How did you originally get into Pilates?
While studying in University, I was also pursuing a dance scholar’s program. I was no stranger to injury – regular hamstring pulls, and the final blow was a strained back. I knew I needed conditioning but was not sure if what I was doing was right for my body, but thankfully I had a ballet teacher who was also a Pilates teacher. This also placed me on the path of a teacher.
As for teaching Pilates, it only came about after I was tired of working in an office. And meeting to have a chat with one of the founders, Jerry Teo. I think it is helpful and important to have conversations with successful individuals in the industry as they would be able to advise you, and share with you the challenges they had faced before but also the rewards of such a career.
Another push factor was that my ballet students were growing up and I knew I had to further my education in order to be a better teacher for them, and that hopefully they will not face the same challenges I did if they decide that they wanted to pursue dance more seriously.
What is the “BodyTree Academy (BTA) Difference”?
At BTA, the Pilates Teacher Training focuses a lot on biomechanics and the intention or objective of each Pilates piece. I personally feel this is very important in programming a session for your clients as each client will have their individual challenges and case history. By delivering the objective of the piece, there is also a deep appreciation for movement precision – one can simply do movements and not experience the full benefits; but if we are precise with each detail of the movement the result and experience can be a world of difference. You’ll literally be “milking” the most of whatever movement piece that you are performing.
BTA is also home to the most experienced team of educators. Our Director of Education (Daniel Chan) alone has 22 years of teaching experience in the fitness industry. And besides the number of years, the educators also come from a variety of movement backgrounds; one of our educators, Alycia Chua, has been a ballet teacher for 18 years, is an RAD mentor as well as a Barefoot Trainer Master Instructor.
So besides a strong content well-rooted in science, we also have a very experienced team of educators who are very open to share their experiences with any young or aspiring teacher.
When does the next Pilates Teacher Training Start?
Our prerequisite module, Prehab Trainer – Axial Skeleton is a fully online program and is already open for enrolment. You can do so here.
We have made this a prerequisite to ensure that anyone who is interested in the Pilates Matwork Teacher Certification has a sound foundation in the biomechanics involved for the Pilates Matwork pieces, as well as a strong understanding of contraindications and modifications required. This is also beneficial to the trainee as they have an opportunity to self pace their learning and at the same time fully absorb the theory material and come prepared for the practical required in the Pilates Matwork Teacher Certification.
The next intake for the Pilates Matwork Teacher Certification will be in Jan 2021, plenty of time to prepare if you are interested!
How do we get involved?
If you are keen to become a certified Pilates Matwork teacher – register yourself for the Prehab Trainer – Axial Skeleton now.
If you know of someone looking for a career change – share this with them.
If you just graduated from the University and are looking for a different career path, are a dance teacher, or if you are already a movement teacher and wish to make an impact on your student’s training, register yourself too!
Managing Director, BodyTree Academy/ Partnership Manager, BodyTree Group/ Teacher, Pilates BodyTree, BodyTree Ballet
“Nothing is more revealing than movement.” – Martha Graham
As a child, Tabitha has always loved how music and rhythm can inspire movement. Starting at the age of 8 in Jazz, followed by Chinese, modern and contemporary style dances, she finally began her ballet journey at a late age of 18.
Her affinity for ballet landed her to a place in Raw Moves’ pre professional scholars’ programme and was trained under the guidance of Mr Ricky Sim and Mr Ng Kin Wee. Tabitha was also training under NUS’s dance group, Synergy. However the rigours of training and rehearsals led to injury after injury, which forced her to place her dancing days on hold.
In spite of this set back, Tabitha was determined to dance again. A chance opportunity led her on a path of rehabilitation with pilates. Through her rehabilitation, she developed an appreciation for mindful movement with a mobile body and now believes that through mindful movements one will achieve the greatest freedom to move. Now as a Pilates instructor, she is passionate about working with both dancers and non-dancers to realise their movement potential, and discover the joys of having the freedom to move.