Pilates Pro April 2009

By Nicole Rogers
Jennifer Kries—Pilates educator, owner of the Hot Body Cool Mind studio in Philadelphia, and arguably first to bring Pilates to the masses with her award-winning “The Method” videos—is back with an ambitious new series of five Pilates DVDs. The Pilates Method Master Trainer Series covers Joseph Pilates’ classical series on the Mat, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair and Barrel, with one piece of equipment covered on each DVD, as well as a segment on the magic circle and a “sculpting” section using hand weights.

Each DVD has sections focusing on beginner, intermediate and advanced work, complete with safety features, cueing, anatomical references and modifications. There is also an interesting interview with Kries, and an FAQ section of sorts in which Kries explains what Pilates is, who can do Pilates, etc. The complete series contains close to 11 hours of instruction.

I really enjoyed the series as a sort of encyclopedic documentation of the classical method. I write this knowing that there are slight variations on what people consider the “classical method.” But the viewer is in good hands with Kries, a student of Eve Gentry, Romana Kryzanowska and Ron Fletcher.

As the DVD states, the series is suitable (and excellent) for the Pilates devotee, teacher-in-training or Pilates professional, but especially, in my view, those thinking of enrolling in a teacher-training program and those who have just finished their teacher training. It is such an asset to be able to see and reference all of the exercises in one place. The series would certainly be a great reference during the training process as well, provided that it wouldn’t be confusing, as some small details would likely be contradictory to various programs (unless of course you are training with Kries).

As someone who has been teaching for several years, I found the series to be an insightful review – refreshing my memory of a few exercises I rarely teach and giving me new cues and hands-on techniques I hadn’t seen or heard before. Like any art, the masters make it look so easy. Kries’ cues and phrasing are spare and precise, something I always aspire to. This DVD was a great way to invigorate my own teaching, and learn from a master teacher, without leaving my living room.

As much as I like the series, it is worth noting that these DVDs are among the most expensive I have seen. But, while “The Master Trainer Series” is not intended to replace an actual teacher training course, the series does represent Kries’s complete official teacher-training intensive course, a $4,500 value.

The Pilates Method Master Trainer Series is available through Jennifer Kries’s online store. Prices range from $79.95 to $99 per DVD, or $399 for the set of five (plus shipping and handling).

Nicole Rogers is a Pilates instructor and writer. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.