Pilates Method is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, after whom it was named. Pilates called his method “Contrology”.
The relationship between dancers and Pilates goes back a long way. Let’s take a look back at the time when the Pilates Method was born.
During the first half of the twentieth century, Joseph Pilates developed a system of exercises which were intended to strengthen the human mind and body. He believed that mental and physical health were interrelated.
He said that the inspiration for his method came to him during WWI, while he was being held at a labour camp. He developed his method there for four years, working on his fellow internees in order to alleviate ill health.
Pilates emigrated to the USA in the early 1920s with his wife Clara, and together they developed and taught the method in their ‘body-conditioning gym’ in New York in 1926. It soon became very popular, particularly with the dance community, as it offered a chance to improve technique or recover from injury. Word spread quickly and many celebrities of the day visited his studio. These included dance legends such as Ted Shawn, Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine and Martha Graham. Originally 60% of the clientele were men.
During his lifetime this method of exercise was called Contrology. It was only after his death that it became known as the Pilates Method.
If practiced with consistency, Pilates improves flexibility, builds strength and develops control and endurance in the entire body. It puts emphasis on alignment, breathing, developing a strong core, and improving coordination and balance.
Joseph Pilates demonstrating some of his mat exercises to a client WATCH HERE
Personally, I found Pilates exercise helps building body awareness as well as core strength and flexibility. This is very beneficial to Tango even for non-professional dancers, because you will feel much more confident with your balance and posture. Your dance will feel light and free.
Happy tango dancing requires stability, strength, and flexibility.
What are you waiting for???