The Pilates Alliance of Australasia (now called Pilates Association Australia) held their well-known conference at the end of August in Melbourne for the first time since its inception. I was delighted to be invited to present a workshop and stand amongst a wonderful selection of Australian presenters as well as two international teachers Brett Howard and Dr Alexandra Bohlinger.

This was the first large-scale event since our lockdown years and I relished the opportunity to present to engaged delegates who were very eager to be ‘in the room’ after years of doing our professional development online. The conference had a mix of presenters and delegates from the comprehensively trained ‘schools’ and catered to career-professional instructors. The standard of the delegates was high matched by their expectations and enthusiasm to learn.

My presentation concentrated on the classical Pilates movement/skill/exercise ‘The Rollover’ and I was able to share an academic or skill acquisition approach to teaching the movement from new client to Olympian. I was ably supported by Chris Kelly, TMR senior associate and ACADEMY faculty educator.

We also went beyond the exercise itself and discussed how our unique way of working at the studios enables success for both the client and instructor. Too often, studios work in the semi-private or large group format but neither actually suit the majority of clients and actively undermines the well-being of instructors which impacts their career longevity.

My trade-mark bluntness was balanced by a demonstration of care, deep knowledge of the subject matter and my long-term investment in client and teacher alike. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, it was a privilege to see a group of delegates nodding and having a-ha moments through the session. It was completely unexpected however to receive emails and phone calls in the months after the event sharing their experiences, upticks in instructor well-being and client success. Honestly, this feedback was some of the most affirming I have had to date.

Preparing a national conference presentation is exhausting, I would have spent a solid twenty hours putting the workshop and slides together. Presenting the actual workshop (which was at 8am on Sunday after two full days of attendance) was like competing in an Ironman event. I finished the session and had an adrenaline crash, but stayed to finish out the conference with friends and colleagues, it was such a satisfying weekend. My take home learning was that with due respect to our International presenters, the talent of the Australian presenters was at an all high and that many of us are leaders in the field and only just getting started.

I look forward to continuing the relationship with these conference delegates over the years to come. A big thank you to our clients who missed sessions at the studio as Chris, Vanessa and I were absent.