The Pilates Carnival History is a story I hope you will find interesting. The Pilates Carnival Conventions were a totally new concept when I introduced them several years ago. A full weekend of sessions and workshops taught by international and local presenters, all for free or a small fee of around 50€ with all profits going to a local children’s charity? Unheard of!
What I wanted to achieve was an ego-free environment where teachers from all schools of Pilates could meet, exchange ideas and learn together. I was tired of the disdain and disrespect that some teachers show to other schools of Pilates; not every school can be the best or the correct way to teach! The truth is there are many great ideas out there, and I wanted to create an environment where people could learn and share together.
Another problem with many conventions is that it’s the same faces that teach and are taught, and they can cost more than a typical Pilates teacher earns in a month! So, as well as renowned international presenters, I also encourage new teachers to present their ideas, thus giving some the first chance at gaining new experience. As for the cost, I made two big decisions:
- I would only charge teachers attending a modest fee, usually around the 50€ mark, so everyone can afford to come.
- I would not pay anyone a fee to teach, and all profits would go to a local children’s charity.
I also decided that each convention would include sessions for members of the public to experience Pilates perhaps for the first time.
The events I have organised have been truly inspiring. There are so many sound-bites in the health and fitness industry. You can join many “tribes” and the words “family” and “open” are used by some of the most commercially driven and non-family like, closed companies you could imagine. The sad truth is that it’s all about the money for a large majority of our industry. Such businesses know how to say all the right things, but their actions betray them. You see it’s all about making people feel that they belong. We have an age-old human need to belong, be it to a club, gang, church or even football team. But to make people feel like they belong by continuing to charge them a fortune to be a part of a fitness school or brand is of course nonsense. You can call them a part of your family or tribe as much as you want, but if they are not getting value for money or being treated with respect and individuality, then guess what? They will not feel part of anything and they will either begrudgingly stay or simply walk away.
So when I talk about sharing, openness and belonging, I do so from the moral high ground. This was such a breath of fresh air, that it might surprise you to learn that I was severely criticized by some “eminent” Pilates schools and presenters. I was accused of only doing this for self-promotion, and of cheapening the Pilates brand. Of course these people were speaking from their own twisted view of the world, and the truth is that such people saw Pilates Carnival as a threat to their income, and their insecurities shone clearly through. I have no problem with this though, because I wouldn’t want such people involved in Pilates Carnival because their commercially driven egotistic behaviour would no doubt poison the atmosphere at the conventions. Thankfully the vast majority of the Pilates community saw what I was trying to do, and embraced the idea.
Anyone who has organised a convention will know just how many hours and hours it takes; how much blood, sweat and tears it takes, how many sleepless nights and countless emails and Skype calls. Seriously, if I was only interested in self-promotion, there are many much easier ways of doing it! Pilates Carnival conventions take me personally hundreds of hours to organise, plus the time I spend at the event teaching. So why on earth would I do it? Why would other teachers join me to give up their time and energy for free? It’s simple. We “get it”. We know that the more we give, the more we get back. Pay it forward. Personally I have made so many friends at Pilates Carnival conventions, and to meet the local children who benefit from the money we make is priceless.
So if you are a Pilates Carnival type of person, I will not promise you a badge proving your membership to the tribe, nor will I call you a family-member. What I promise you is a totally unique experience of learning and sharing. I promise that by attending or helping me to organise an event, you will be helping local children. And I can guarantee that you will leave after the weekend not only with new ideas and a renewed sense of human kindness, but with many new friends as well.
In the true spirit of giving and sharing, I am donating a free place on the PilatesEVO educations this year in Brighton, UK, in Miami, USA and in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I am also donating a free PilatesEVO Online training education, and a free PilatesEVO education at the PilatesEVO School in Barcelona. These places are all worth a few hundred euros each and all you have to do to go into the draw is contact me and tell me why you want to attend.
If you are interested in becoming involved in Pilates Carnival as a sponsor or participant, then please contact the team by clicking HERE. If you want to talk about hosting an event at your studio, then please email me and I will be delighted to speak to you about it. It’s another over-used statement, but you know what, we can all really make a difference if we want to. If you want to, then please get in touch. Thank you for reading this article, and I hope to meet you at an event very soon.
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