By Kari Gregg
My next stop after Madison, Wisconsin (in case you missed it, click here, was a no-brainer. After I saw that Momentum Fest, a new three-day Pilates weekend, was happening in Colorado—conveniently located between two beautiful cities I’ve been wanting to explore for years, Boulder and Denver—I knew I had to make it a priority for my Pilates Pilgrimage. I had decided to apply to be a volunteer and was accepted. Finally, a festival for Pilates was in my sights.
Grace Hurry’s class, Cadillac on the Mat, was my first class at the festival. After driving for two days through Kansas and much of Colorado, my body was aching to lie down and stretch! I was also in luck that the class was being held outside in the pavilion so we could all benefit from the fresh mountain air. Grace’s beautiful British accent brought us all to a calm and tranquil place, and I enjoyed her nice and easy flow. We used long red bands for the exercises to mimic Cadillac exercises.
Next class: Anula Maiberg and James Crader teaching their ever-popular, Shift Happens. I have to be honest, I’ve been following these two on Pilates Anytime for more than a year now and love their honesty, humor and tips on deconstructing exercises. It is so refreshing to get away from “right and wrong” and just see what happens! I enjoyed their use of phrasing such as “like a Teaser,” “it’s a choice,” “do whatever you think I’m saying” and of course, “neck abs” (which we all have). They had us think differently about our bodies in ways I had never heard before. We all were in a safe space to do whatever our bodies needed at that time, without looking around to see if we were doing the “correct” movements.
Jessica Valant’s The Power of Twists class was up next. I loved how she incorporated music to change up the vibe. She had a cool energy to her teaching that I enjoyed. A nice, slow yet challenging pace took us through a mat class filled with many of Joe’s spiral and twisting exercises. I forgot how many exercises use spirals, and my spine felt wonderful afterward! One of the exercises I took away from her class was after the Saw, we would windmill our arms to put the hand that was “sawing off our pinkie toe” down behind us to lift our hips off the ground and reach the opposite arm back on the diagonal. Such a great flow!
Last but not least, Tracey Mallett’s Pilates with the Band. I loved her music playlist, her accent (of course!) and also that her energy in “real life” is the same as onscreen. But this class was hard! She really knows how to work a body, and with such great flow and grace.
Okay, I have to admit that I woke up a bit sore, but can you blame me? I had such a great time the day before, I was not going to let my body miss out on the chance for more Pilates!
First, Courtney Miller’s Pilates/HIIT Fusion. As an instructor myself, I know the importance of having my students elevate their heart rate during a session without telling them they will be doing cardio, so I was very excited to get some tips from Courtney’s class. Also, Courtney was my very first class I took when I joined Pilates Anytime some five years ago. She definitely got our heart rates up, and the music was great; her confidence made the exercises flow together as we transitioned from HIIT drills to Pilates mat flows. My favorites were Jackknife to Teaser and also a series we with one foot crossed at our opposite ankle, where we went from Downdog to Plank to extension and then to Side Plank.
My next stop was Trina Altman’s Pilates Deconstructed: Arch, Curl, Connect and Unwind. Her class was amazing and the perfect meditation and centering work I needed following Courtney’s. She was kind—and she was real. Her words of inspiration were also refreshing. “I am a student of my body, I am a student of my breath” and “move, break, breath, heartbeat” were also some nice moments of pause during the class. I loved how she transported us through stories and imagery to find ourselves again and to “get off the grid.” Another mantra she said, “we do this because when life gets tough, we have this practice in our bodies to adapt.” I fully believe in this statement. Pilates is a powerful tool that we can all practice when life is just not going according to plan.
After Tracey Mallett’s bbarreless class, which seamlessly combined barre and mat into a fun, coordinated and movement-oriented class, was Jenna Zaffino’s Movement Mantras. She reminded us to say to ourselves “I am doing my best” and that “I show up, I keep up.” Such simple phrases but ones we often forget.
Lesley Logan has been another instructor I enjoy following on Pilates Anytime. I welcomed her Reformer on the Mat class oh so much! It was like I was home. I remember seeing most people near me struggling or making comments on how hard the class was because A: it was the last class of the day and B: Joe’s work IS hard! But you know what, everyone had a great time challenging their bodies and minds to Lesley’s fun and positive instruction. Let me tell you, we did every, single exercise from the Reformer!
Very, very sore. You’d think that being a professional dancer, I’d be used to working out all day long. But it feels great to feel these different muscles fire.
My first class: Meredith Rogers’ Circle of Breath with the Magic Circle.She had some new and creative ways to use the Circle so I was soaking it all up! She did a great Side Kick Series using the circle as the base to put your legs through. and then kick up like a developée, as well as up and over for Hot Potato, or rainbow, as she described the movement. I felt the burn! Then a nice stomach extension and Swan variation. I liked how she said to press the circle into your palms, but also the visualization that your palms were stuck to the pads and that you were almost trying to release at the same time. I felt a great release in my back! Another fun one was Push Up, where we put the Circles just below our sternums. [photo of push-ups]
Any use of the Circle on the mat is a hard and sweaty workout, so I was pleased to take Anula Maiberg’s When in Doubt: Rolling Like a Ball. Not that Anula’s class was not challenging, but a different pace. Community was a big topic she discussed. We all strive for it as humans, and yet, with our fast-paced lifestyles and connection to our phones and computers, many of us don’t engage in one special sense we are all born with: touch. So we paired up with someone we didn’t know and practiced some new partnering skills while also getting our roll on. Thank you, Anula, for starting the conversation and realizing that we are in need of a connection, a touch from a friend or stranger, a community.
Right after this class, I had a break from my volunteer duties and was going to observe Anula teaching the Reformer. But to my luck, someone didn’t show and I got to participate in the class. I was trained and practice regularly on Gratz apparatus, so the Balanced Body Reformer was one I’ve wanted to know more about. Anula’s pace, attitude and humor made it a great and relaxing class for me. Yes, I took a reformer class that was relaxing! Ha!
My final class of the day was from Delia Buckmaster. She had some great variations using the yoga block that I loved and will have to take from her again in her hometown of Montana!
After the Momentum Fest (amazing!) festivities were over, I decided to head to Eldorado Canyon State Park, just a 20-minute drive from the hotel. After three days of nonstop Pilates, it was refreshing to get out into nature and put my Pilates practice to good use for a nice long hike. Debi, one of the other volunteers at the event, joined me, and we had the best time reminiscing about the festival.
Stay tuned for my next stop, coming your way soon!
» Kari Gregg was first introduced to Pilates in college, and was impressed by the exacting and intuitive approach it had on maintaining and healing her body throughout a rigorous dance program. After receiving a bachelor’s of dance from Butler University, Kari launched her professional dance career, both domestically and abroad. For the past 15 years, she has performed in cities all across the United States, and continues to dance professionally with The Radio City Rockettes.
Kari loves practicing all disciplines of Pilates, but was immediately drawn to the traditional method and was certified by the New York Pilates Studio Teacher Certification Program under Brett Howard. A believer that a true teacher is a constant student, Kari continues her education in all styles of Pilates with instructors all across the country.