The Pilates Alliance of Australasia (PAA) 2023 Conference
By: Kerrie Murphy | 02/10/2023
Very early in my Pilates career and developement over the past 33 years, I kept hearing about the work and style of Brett Howard and how I would apprieciate training with him having very similar movement qualities.
On the 25th to the 27th of August the PAA held its’ Bi-Annual Conference where National and International Pilates Instructors could come together to network and share ideas, methods, hints, tips and clarification of the repertoire – all under the umbrella of this amazing body of work we call Pilates.
Among the guest panel of invited international presenters was none other than the man himself: Brett Howard! At the conference I was able to realise a dream and work under the guidance and tutelage of this enigmatic man. Brett trained under the guidance of Romana Kryzanowska – who herself was a direct student of Joseph and Clara Pilates – so it was very honouring and humbling to work with someone who was that one step closer to the original teachings.
And he certainly put me through my paces! As I had chosen to attend all his presented sessions it meant I was very familiar with the concepts and focal points of his work. This also allowed him to call upon me to demonstrate his points within each session. It was also a wonderful opportunity to physicalise some of the Intermediate and Advanced repertoire that I don’t often get to do or to teach in the studio and to also make those connections with the preparatory/beginner/early intermediate exercises and concepts.
Another amazing experience to watch and learn from was to see Brett take an ‘Average Guy’ through his first Pilates session from start to finish. I was amazed – not only at the amount of repertoire Brett and the participant was able to get through in 45mins – but also at the care and thorough repetitive patterning of various Pilates concepts that we also explore at Infinity. This follows along from another Pilates Elder, Eve Gentry, who would often say “Teach Concepts, Not Exercises”. At the end of the session, Brett said “Is it pretty? No. Did I get him moving? Yes. Was he safe? Yes. Did I lay a good foundation to explore in future sessions? Yes.” It was a nice reminder that this method I am so privileged to be a part of is, at its core (pun intended), about movement and was a nice reminder to not get too bogged down in the details of an exercise but be more grounded in the concept behind it.
Another amazing presenter was Osteopath/Pilates Instructor Alexandra Bohlinger. She too was Romana trained but it was her Osteopathic insights into Neck, Knee and Hypermobility pathologies and conditions that I greatly admired and appreciated. Her approach to the method very much reminded me of a quote by our own Joseph Pilates: “Change happens through movement and movement heals”.
So very true!