Get to know
Body Culture is a Pilates studio operating in the Herzliya Pituach Industrial Zone since 2004. The studio director is Rajul (Mozaique) Vardi, a dancer and choreographer who has been teaching Pilates since 1995. Rajul started out as a Pilates instructor at the Dalia Mantver Pilates Studio, and has been teaching in Herzliya Pituach since 1998. The studio is located in a spacious, airy, and well-lit industrial loft that offers a large variety of exercises with an extensive array of equipment and apparatuses. The studio is equipped with the best Pilates equipment, as well as other facilities, all of which are upgraded frequently.
Creation of the field of dance Pilates was an expression of the link between Pilates and dance that was made by Pilates instructors who came from the world of dance, and by many students of Pilates. Many Pilates movements are reminiscent of dance movements, and the precision of movement in Pilates resembles that of dance. Dance Pilates is also an expression of the continual contribution of the world of Pilates to the world of dance with respect to the research and practice of movement.
The body culture in Pilates is very similar to the body cultures in most branches of ballet, and in modern and contemporary dance. It is the body culture that facilitates the abilities that we see in dancers.
Not that dance is an act performed exclusively with no equipment. Sometimes, dance uses and relates quite seriously to various props. In dance Pilates (as in dance itself), we try to use all of the bare space around us. There is the floor, there are the walls around us, and there is the ceiling (as high as possible). This space is also an allegory for both the personal-internal space, and the aspirational infinite space, and/or it is perceived as a space we are trying to break into and enlarge.
In dance Pilates classes, we practice orienting ourselves within internal and external space. We practice experiencing and feeling the connection between them, and move from internal to external space, and back from external to internal space, in a never-ending cycle.
The external space invades the internal space, among other ways, through a rhythm dictated for most of the exercises – whether by music or verbal cues, or just (can it really be ‘just’?) by feeling a groove. The internal rhythm, in contrast, breaks through to the external space, and we practice ways of bridging between the internal rhythm and the dictated rhythm.
Dance Pilates is also one of the ways we have to address the need for aerobic exercise within a Pilates framework. Movement in space with varying dynamics and jumps meet this need, though not completely separately from other aerobic activity performed various ways in regular Pilates classes.
In dance Pilates, we experience different modes of movement in space, and learn:
√ How to fall
√ How not to fall
√ How to get up
√ How to crawl
√ How to be a baby
√ How to land, and how to jump in preparation for landing
√ And how to twirl.
All of this is done with breathing leading the movement, with micro movement building macro movement, and micro movement growing in significance to macro dimensions.
Dance Pilates is another important milestone in extending the boundaries in the unceasing evolution that has always characterized the Body Culture worldview. Flow and power and rhythm, without losing even a drop of everything that typifies Pilates movement, and without forgetting any value, old or new. Vibrant, effervescent, deeply penetrating.
The Pilates system is named after the inventor of the Pilates worldview, Joseph Pilates (1880-1967). This worldview sees all of the body’s parts, components, and actions as interconnected, and as such, it is a holistic approach. The holistic nature of the system implies that all of the alternative methods for practicing Pilates should be considered important. In other words, both equipment Pilates and mat (or “floor”) Pilates are equally important, and should be practiced frequently side by side.
Over the years of the method’s development, many different branches were formed. Some champion a very clear distinction between mat (or floor) work and equipment work.
The differentiation between these two types of exercise resulted mainly from a desire on the part of large fitness clubs to add the word “Pilates” to their advertisements in order to attract customers. Though they used the name, they were unwilling to invest in the purchase of expensive Pilates equipment. They thus promoted the term “mat Pilates” as a valid independent system, convincing the public that it is sufficient on its own.
The terms mat Pilates and equipment Pilates slowly grew to represent two Pilates branches that are opposed to each other, and today one can find both those claiming that mat Pilates alone is enough, and those claiming that equipment Pilates alone is enough.
Another aspect of the Pilates method’s holistic nature is the broad and extremely detailed scale of resistance and load levels used in Pilates. There are those who need assistance, and those who need a challenge. Some need to create the assistance and/or challenge independently without any external equipment, and some need to move without assistance and/or without challenge.
Pilates equipment is versatile and multipurpose. With imagination and creativity, it can be used for an endless variety of techniques, and one can always find new ways of using it for assistance or challenge in exercise. Some of the Pilates equipment can be used for mat work, meaning with no external resistance other than gravity, simply by using the mat to lie on when using that equipment.
Movement using Pilates equipment is performed against the force of springs, which essentially imitate the type of movement caused by muscles. Muscles work like springs. A stretched muscle strives to relax, as does a contracted muscle. In moving with Pilates equipment, therefore, the muscles find a partner with similar elasticity, response, and manner of operation.
Pilates equipment will not help you orient your body. In order to achieve proper positioning on Pilates equipment, you must position and stabilize your body independently. The apparatuses are not built like the gym machines that schematically and/or statistically create a framework within which the body must position itself without any possibility of changing position. With Pilates, people aren’t statistical data (see the article: “If You Can Correspond with Bach, You Can Correspond with Pilates”), and each person will find his or her own correct posture on the equipment, which should be maintained during the course of the exercise. The result of this is the strengthening of proper posture while challenging the person, making it difficult to maintain that posture – which will make it easier to maintain good posture in everyday situations. Even when the equipment is used for support, the goal (at least the theoretical goal) is to eventually manage to perform the same task without the equipment – meaning, for our purposes, with just a mat.
Thus, the most genuine and effective Pilates training is combined mat-equipment training.
They can be separated on a short-term basis, using only equipment for one class, or only a mat, or only one specific apparatus. But in the long term, one should be employing all the methods. In any case, even during a class we need to be sensitive to individual needs, and to be open to transitions between equipment, mat, and apparatuses.
For our purposes, we can say that the mat is also an apparatus – like gravity, like the walls, like the air. And who would oppose the statement that the body itself is in fact THE ultimate apparatus?