Welcome to my Movement & Pilates Journey (on-going)

The ‘Dancing’ Years

My mother said I was a dancer before I could walk.  The first time I heard Tchaikovsky’s ‘Swan Lake’, I absolutely knew I wanted to be a Ballet Dancer.

So, at 11 years of age, I was fortunate to attend The Arts Educational School at Tring Park where I successfully auditioned for London Festival Ballet, now English National Ballet, and performed ‘Nutcracker’ and ‘La Sylphide’ at the London Festival Hall, later touring in Italy.  Moving onto ‘The London School’ I won the 1987 Dame Alicia Markova Award.

I then took a different turn after auditioning for Arlene Phillips, performing at The London Palladium, The German Eurovision Song Contest and the Anniversary of the City of Bonn, with Sir Cliff Richard and Uta Lempe. I performed in a lot of pantomimes, even understudying for Bonnie Langford in ‘Cinderella’ at The Wimbledon Theatre as well as working extensively throughout Europe.

Wearing a ‘Promotional’ Hat

A change of pace and, taking a break from dancing for a while, I went to work as an Event Manager at prestigious events such as ‘Wimbledon Tennis’, ‘The Golf Open’, Wembley Stadium and The Grand Prix (where I fortunate enough to meet the late, great Ayrton Senna).

My ‘Baby-Making’ Achievement

I bake ’em pretty good.  I’m sure every mother knows they have the best child in the world, but I really have!  My wonderful Ava (10lb birth weight!!!), had me thinking I rather ought to shed the weight I’d put on . . . which led me back to the physical side of my nature and into the exciting world of The Fitness Industry.

Fitness, Fitness Training . . . and yet more Pilates Training !

Inspired by some inspirational people to become a Personal Trainer and Studio Instructor, I happily committed to years of progressive learning and studying to achive my next goal.  I qualified with the YMCA and become certified as a: Personal Trainer, Studio Instructor, Aqua Fitness Instructor and Spin Instructor.

I qualified as a ‘Body Balance’ Instructor and Pump Instructor with the inspirational Les Mills.  Through ‘Body Control’ I qualified to teach: Matwork BeginnerMatwork Intermediate and Matwork Advanced, with Foam Rollers, Circles & Balls and Stretch Bands as well as a Body Control course on Teacher Training for Children (ages 5-11 & 12-16).

I have also had the privilege of learning from Mary Bowen, who is one of the few remaining teachers who studied with Clara & Joseph Pilates.

Given my (later) personal brush with Breast Cancer I also attended Post-operative Breast Cancer workshops to better understand and help those going through the trauma of this terrifying and debilitating condition.

Me (empathetic) Instructor, You Client – Our Journey Together

Phew!  That’s quite a lot of training, looking back on it.  But without blowing my own trumpet, I think it’s fair to say I now know a good deal about the subject and science of Pilates.  Combined with my background of Dance and my thorough-going knowledge of Pilates I am able to offer choreographically inventive classes and I do think I know a good deal about how our bodies work.

For some years now I have been teaching regular classes at venues such as Roko, Virgin, Esporta, Hogarth (Chiswick), Charing Cross Sports Club (Hammersmith), and numerous other venues.

I still absolutley love my work and, I’m pleased to report, I’m still learning every day.

The Next Step – The Meditation Journey

My friends, Ros and Tantro, of Shibumi Yoga (see the ‘Meditation’ page from the menu) have inspired me in the next phase of my personal journey and, by extension, opened the door for me to offer a meaningful extension to the Fitness and Pilates classes and one-to-one trainings I offer my private clients.  I told them that I saw my new direction as a personal journey – one that I would be prepared to share with family, friends, students and clients.

I had been looking at, and waiting for, a way to present itself that would allow me to offer a more compassionate extension to the largely physically-based training I have studied for so far.  For quite a while now I have wanted to reconnect with the spirit that shaped the creative dance expression of my earlier years and yet would allow me to offer the compassionate help that is so badly needed in this anxious and fast-paced modern world.  I think the Meditation practices at the core of Shibumi Yoga are the very thing we all need right now and I invite all who are interested to join me on that exciting journey.

On my return from the first Movement & Mind Pilates Retreat (9th-15th May 2015) in Ibiza, I shall be organising the first of their Meditation Day Workshops in London – ‘Mind-Taming’, and we shall all get our first taste of what is to come.  Details will be announced on my new Web-Blog (see menu above).

Vanessa Declercq