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Pilates Story – Antonia Dearden, Newly Certified Pilates Instructor, Pilates ITC Sydney

This is a very special interview as Antonia and I were training together for our Mat Certification at Pilates ITC, and she was a great support to me during the course.

She has since progressed and is now undertaking the Diploma to include the studio component of the course, and she has also started teaching at WellFit Studio. This is a great addition to the Pilates Stories series as it is from the perspective of a newly certified instructor.

1) How did you first come across Pilates?
In a gym, it was early days for Pilates in gyms so it wasn’t very popular but the idea intrigued me as most of the moves felt natural to me (little did I know I was doing them wrong…).

2) What is your favorite Pilates exercise?
Spine twist, pelvic curl and anything to stretch hamstrings… so hard to name only a few though. Maybe if you asked which ones I didn’t like. ..

3) How long have you been practicing Pilates? How long have you been teaching?
Practicing on and off for 10 years but seriously practicing for the last 4 years. Teaching for about 3 months!

4) What were your doing before your started teaching Pilates?
A sales director for a high end Australian fashion label… a very different occupation but let’s just say my Pilates outfits have become very important to me as have my shoes…

5) How did you feel when you taught your first class?
Petrified but a little bit excited too. It was nice to finally put everything into action without being examined! A real time class is very different though and real bodies, rather than student bodies, made for a welcome challenge.

6) What is your favorite Pilates cue?
Spine stretch; imagine someone has a theraband around your waist and is holding you back while someone else is pulling you up and forward by your arms. It wasn’t my cue but it’s stuck with me. Also spine twist supine; imagine you have a plank of wood across your chest.

7) Who did you train and attain your certification with? What is the point of differentiation of this school of training?
Pilates ITC: they offer a diploma in Matwork and studio which you can do either full or part time. I’ve finished the Matwork and am now completing the studio component. I feel they thoroughly prepared me for teaching, well as much as can be expected, and observing their supervisors has been an amazing experience and I consider myself very lucky. The course is very comprehensive and thorough and I’ve loved meeting people from all different backgrounds.

8) Where do you see yourself in two years’ time?
Hopefully working full time (or part time as I have kids ) in a studio working both with the equipment and Matwork component.

9) What reading or resources do you use to further your own Pilates learning?
The internet and those around me that I’m studying with and learning from. I feel like a sponge and I could sit and listen for hours!

10) What advice would you give a newly qualified Pilates instructor?
Take your time…. it’s one of those careers that you just continue learning and that’s one of the best things about it. Also, give yourself time personally to master the repertoire. There is an expectation that we, as teachers/students, should be able to master every exercise perfectly but that isn’t always the case and you have to take into account your own body as you would a client. Unnecessary pressure can lead to injury so it’s practice what you preach… Lastly, take care of those you teach, listen to them and acknowledge their individualities as best you can. Everyone is coming to you for a different reason and with a different body so it’s important to gather that information and work with it.

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