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Day 16, Lizzie’s 30 Day Yoga Challenge

When choosing todays class, I have to admit I didn’t put too much thought into it. I knew I had to be at a clients home in Chelsea in the afternoon, and the Pilates and Dance class at Triyoga Chelsea was the only class at the right time. On top of that, I knew it would be somewhat of a different experience with a teacher I hadn’t heard of. The class description reads as follows:

Pilates + Dance with Yalckun Abdurehim Dynamic, fluid dance movements combined with Pilates techniques. Yalckun’s teaching concentrates on precision and dynamic flow of movement which relates to his dance background of more than 20 years. Physically challenged in a fun and friendly atmosphere. Some ballet or contemporary dance knowledge need it.

As with all of my blog posts, this entry is based only on my subjective experience and opinion, however, in writing about todays experience I feel a little out of my depth. I’ve never taken a ballet or contemporary dance class, and while I attend weekly Pilates classes, bringing the two forms of movement together is foreign to me.

As class began, the teacher gave us his concept of the class, how he teaches and what we could expect: a Pilates warm up, some contemporary dance movement and ballet. There was a range of experience between the six students in the class, including a ballet teacher (I learned later in the changing room) and two girls whom had never done any body movement work.

The warm-up was basic pilates sequences, but after 20 minutes or so we began the more challenging contemporary movements- falling down from one side to the other. This is when I felt something go wrong with my knee; it felt as if it clicked out of place. I was prepared to leave the class, but we then came to stand at it felt ok at the time (as I type I balance an ice pack on my clicking, elevated knee). The ballet sequencing started, and for the next 25-30 minutes we worked through a whole range of ballet steps, moving quickly from one to the next. It wasn’t clear when Yalckun was demonstrating and when we were meant to follow along, and it was even less clear the relationship between the Pilates and contemporary dance movements. Despite this, it was fun trying something new trying to emulate the gracefulness of Yalckun, whom I’m sure is a delight to see in a dance performance. He was gracious in encouraging all of us along and is clearly passionate about what he does.

After class I reflected on my experience, unsure of what to write. The session touched on something that *could* be very interesting and appealing for students, especially as ballet returns to the mainstream. At the core of the class is movement of the body- building body awareness, strength and grace with a focus beyond the day to day rushing of the mind. However, I’m not convinced that the formula has been refined enough to make the class safe and successful, and less sure the teacher is the right fit to make the class accessible for the range of students’ abilities. Nonetheless, I applaud the effort of Triyoga to try something different, and can see the potential for more classes like this to become available in the future.

For now, hoping the knee feels ok in the morning, such a good reminder to give careful alignment instruction, regardless of the form of movement.

Tomorrow’s class is a wild card!

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