Pilates and Dance Instructor – Susan Miller Davern
When I was a dancer at State University of New York, College at Purchase in the 80s, I was fortunate enough to couple my grueling class and performance schedule with Pilates and Romana Kryzanowska. She was inspirational at making the simplest exercises compliment a dancer’s body, and explained why it was critical to marry the two. Her infectious smile and grace are what I remember most, and that is what I try to implement in all my classes today. Romana carried a smile, and presented a story at every class. She knew a dancers body and what it needed with Pilates. I will always hold these two years near and dear to my heart. Romana is how I started my Pilates journey.
For years, I continued performing and teaching dance, but neglected my own Pilates practice. I continued the mat exercises for me and my ballet teaching practice because I felt a stronger core infiltrated all body parts when dancing. I have been teaching dance and the basic elements of Pilates for over forty years. I believe a dancer’s body is at its purest form of strength when both practices are merged into existence in the classroom and on stage. Pilates does its job!
In recent years, I have had knee issues due to age dance injuries over the years. Yoga classes were not working with keeping the pain at bay. Injections and knee replacement had been discussed, but I adamantly refused. I came back into classical Pilates five years ago. I knew I was meant to bring the total body wellness with the Pilates principles. While combining my rejuvenated classes and daily training and education through Peak, my knee pain diminished. My dancers body transformed in my fifties much deeper with muscles I had not used consistently with dance. Parents were coming up to me saying they saw my body change from a dancer’s body to a deeper connected body with intrinsic muscles. I never received the injections and replacement conversations have been tabled. I love teaching dance and Pilates, and I am thrilled to have been teaching Pilates in my fifties. It has kept my pain at bay, retooled my body deeper than I ever thought, and has partnered my two passions, dance and Pilates, much more profound. I am grateful for the body transformation, but even happier my knee replacements will hold off for the time being. My one regret was that I had not stayed with my training with Romana back in the 80s. She brought me to the place of content I am now because of her introduction to a phenomenal program.