Instructor of the Month
Introducing Danielle Rutter
I fell into teaching Pilates about 2 years ago. A company I had done my Exercise to Music course with offered me a discount on a new Pilates course they were launching. At the time I had returned/retired from working abroad as a dancer and choreographer, I was working as a waitress, living at my dad’s desperately trying to find work as anything better than burning my fingers serving rude people pasta dishes (I was not a natural waitress!). So having just about enough money in the bank I booked onto the course and qualified within a few months. I then managed to find a job working as a dance development officer for Watford FC as part of their community Trust and started to offer Pilates as an add on class for adults within the community work we were doing (generally trying to teach children who would much rather bash each other’s heads against walls!). With the government funding cuts at the time the dance program was shut down and I returned to waitressing. At the same time I got in contact with all the gyms and started looking for cover work. This is really where Pilates took off for me, I got a couple of regular slots in some gyms and everything started falling into place, there was a time where every day nearly I was being asked to cover a class. (I was also Zumba, Zumba gold and powerhoop qualified). I found that out of all the classes I taught the ones I had most success with was the Pilates. 4months later I was in full time employment one way or another doing 25-30 odd hours a week, and that was not even a year ago!
In April, the inevitable happened.. I moved in with the fella! This meant relocating my work.. a very scary time for me, as well as this I had been given the impression by other instructors that I was not fully qualified Pilates teacher as my course had not been as in-depth as others. I was starting to question my ability and knowledge of the body and Pilates. I went on Jo’s L4 Back Pain course and was wonderfully relieved when Jo assured me that I had nothing to be worried about, that I knew my stuff and was great at teaching (Thanks Jo!). She was right 3 months later I am back to worrying about when I will have time to put my feet up and have a cup of tea! I am regularly covering for Pilates studios, gyms and even looking after other instructors community classes whilst their away on holiday or popping out babies! I have my regular private clients who I travel down to see who are wonderful and I just love teaching them and sharing my knowledge. It’s a great feeling to know that work is always there if you look for it. I am very lucking that I have such a great job that I enjoy.. I don’t think I will ever get sick of telling people to relax and breathe and explaining how the body works. For me the best thing about Pilates is that it has vastly increased my knowledge and awareness in terms of dance (my lifelong passion) and I spend a lot of my time with my dance students sharing ideas and exercises to help them grow and develop as dancers.
How would you describe your style of teaching?
My style of teaching is very flow orientated, I like the whole class to be one whole movement although I do stop occasionally for a little anatomy lecture with my regular classes when I feel they need it ☺ .
What is your client base like?
I have a complete mix of clients including in my 121’s, from 14yrs to 75yrs! I love the variety of age groups and types of classes I teach, it allows me to stay fresh and always pushes me to find new ways of doing the same thing. I love it!
What are you planning for the next 12 months?
I am doing my 200hr Yoga Alliance teacher training as I love to bring elements of flow-style yoga classes to my Pilates. Also, purely selfishly… I just love it! I will most probably fit in some other bits here and there as I love to keep up to date. I find any form of training or attending someone else’s classes inspire me and I always come away with more fab ideas of fun stuff to do and more knowledge on our movements and biomechanics.
What do you find most challenging about your work and how do you overcome this?
I find time is my biggest challenge. I teach such a variety of classes from baby ballet, to Pilates, 121’s, Zumba, and BA course in Dance. My challenge is suitably preparing for every class. I do on average 25-30 hours of teaching a week (Monday-Friday) and spend easily 2/3hours travelling a day.. which leaves me very little time for everything else. I overcome this by being as organised as possible and making sure I use every bit of spare time. I plan most of my classes whilst driving and stick with the same class plan for the week but adapt it for each of my groups. Finally I make sure that the weekend is work free so that I have time to unwind and enjoy life.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a Pilates instructor?
All of it! I love every bit of it, the people I meet, waffling on about neutral spines and efficient movement and hearing from my students how much they get from the sessions. I have met many people that are dealing with so much in their life, yet they are positive and upbeat and so happy to just be alive and well. I love that they enjoy my classes, that it makes them feel great and that they feel the benefits of doing Pilates. That for me is the most rewarding part knowing that I am helping people have a better quality of life, that they have something to look forward to and enjoy.
If you could give one piece of advice to a new instructor what would it be?
Don’t worry you will be great! If you love what you do and people sense that then they too will love it! Enthusiasm is contagious, as is positivity remember to take time to find your style, you don’t have to be the same as any other teacher be true to yourself, teach what you understand and what makes sense to you, keep up to date and research things you’re not sure on. At the end of the day we are all different and that is why some individuals prefer one instructor to another. Keep an open mind, be interested in areas outside Pilates… everything that will make you re-asses and grow as an instructor… I was reading up on movement behaviour the other day and it has really made me think about my teaching and my students…
Finally one of my favourite sayings…
<<water that is moving is fresh and clean and inviting, water that stays still turns stale>>
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