Dancing Pilates

Chrissy ON May 10, 2012 AT 4:37 pm

Global Lust by Chrissy Iley

Abbe Rowlins

Last Saturday I arrived at my regular pilates class at Melrose Pilates. Classes are small, a maximum of four, and I’ve been enjoying bonding with the other pilates people in a relaxed laid back atmosphere.

Classes with Shana Lord Ellingsen, who normally hangs out on a trapeze and has worked for Cirque de Soleil, are incredibly precise affairs. Classes with Holly Bullard are faster paced and a wonderful workout. What I was not prepared for was the new teacher Abbe Rowlins and her one-off approach. She seems to have created a new hybrid of dancing pilates.

Rowlins looks and sounds dramatic, has a history in theatre, was born in London and grew up in Los Angeles. Five minutes into the class we were all dripping and she kept calling out ‘Oh Chrissy, no, no, no.’ Yes, I was class dunce but it was still worth it for the eclectic mix of traditional pilates and the new innovation where there is what she calls a jump board placed at the end of the reformer – a slightly padded square board that you literally spring from as you jump and you propel yourself up and down.

Then the steps come in. Some straight forward ballet, and then it turns fast. You are Irish dancing on the board and propelling yourself backwards and forwards on the reformer by your footwork. So it’s dancing, but with springs attached.

It’s so energetic that by the time you’ve finished a bout on the spring box you are almost in a trance. She called in wonderment, ‘How is it you can do the complicated steps but not the simple ones, Chrissy? It must be because it’s happening so fast your mind doesn’t have time to fear it.’

The steps with the springboard are integrated with normal arm and abs exercises that are supposed to quietly strengthen. It had the cardio impact of a spin class but with the added pilates strengthening as well. And it was enormous fun.

Melrose Pilates, 7901 Melrose Avenue, Suite 202, Los Angeles, 90046
www.melrosepilates.com

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