One of our newest BTA Pilates Teacher Training graduate is Lydia Tan who is only 22 years old; Hear from her experience pursuing her certification after graduating from the New Zealand School of Dance.

Hey Lydia! Tell us more about yourself!

Hi, my name is Lydia. I am a pilates and a ballet teacher. I completed and graduated BTA’s Comprehensive teacher training in Aug 2020. Prior to that, I trained at the New Zealand school of dance (NZSD) and graduated with a Diploma in dance back in 2017. 

What was it like training in a professional dance school overseas?

Training in professional dance school was a dream of mine ever since I was 12 years old. I always wanted to dance daily and be with people who had shared a similar passion with me. Whilst studying ballet full time, it challenged me physically, mentally and emotionally. Getting used to training 6 times a week for about 6-7 hours a day was quite draining. Although I got used to it, overtime the body still tires out. I was challenged the most mentally and emotionally as I only had myself to motivate to improve on technique and my dancing. 

Despite all these, I thoroughly enjoyed my 3 years of study. It definitely pushed me to be who I am as a person today. I feel very blessed to have had this opportunity to study dance overseas. I was able to meet so many people from all around the world, deepen my knowledge as a dancer and fulfill my dream of full time ballet training. I don’t ever regret going overseas to study. 

What was your thought process after graduating? 

To be very honest, after graduating from NZSD, I was very anxious about my future. Most of the time graduates secure jobs in ballet companies before they graduate. For me, I had done a couple of auditions but did not get accepted to any company. Thus, I was pretty worried. In addition to that, I was very sad to leave the school. I also did not feel very ready or confident to continue auditioning. Which was partly why I took a gap year to continue weighing my options. At the same time, I wanted to keep up my pilates training and hence I joined PBT as a student after returning to Singapore in 2018. 

What was your biggest challenge as a young teacher and how did you overcome it?

I think my biggest challenge as a young teacher was being confident in teaching adults and to use a more mature approach to help them better understand. 

Prior to this, I used to assist my ballet teacher for classes, hence I am more comfortable teaching children because I had more experience in that area. 

It is still something I am working on and trying to improve, but practicing and teaching adults more often helped me overcome this fear and challenge. In addition, observing how the other teachers at PBT taught, helped me how to explain or teach clients to move better. 

What advice will you give others who are in a similar stage in life, starting off a career? 

My advice to others who are in a starting off a career would be to enjoy the process, to take in everything and learn a lot. Don’t be afraid to take risks or make mistakes. These things will help you learn better, learn faster.  The start of a new chapter in your life may seem quite scary and uncertain but do your best and trust the process. It’s not about the destination but the journey and the lessons you learn along the way that are the most important. 

Why do you recommend the BTA program?

I recommend the BTA program because personally I have learnt and grown so much throughout the teacher training courses. The BTA program not only trains you how to teach, but how to be a better teacher for your students. The teachers at BTA are extremely helpful and nurturing. During my teacher training, whenever I had problems I faced, the faculty never hesitated to share their knowledge and experience with me. This enhanced my learning process. Although the courses may seem tedious and long, throughout the 1 and a half years I felt that I gained the most as I had the opportunity to observe lessons and time to process information. Unlike other courses, I feel ready to teach after graduating. 

Lydia Tan

Teacher – Pilates BodyTree, BodyTree Ballet

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.


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