Betty’s Advanced practical Pilates exam took place on Friday and Saturday. It went smashingly, for the most part: she passed, anyway, which is the important thing, and she additionally found the examination process to be that most wily of creatures, a learning experience. The promise of a learning experience is one of those things that one hears on a daily basis from anybody connected with the process — already-certified instructors, fellow-apprentices, clients, mentors — and it is, pleasingly, quite real.
Betty first had to teach her willing victim a complete Advanced Reformer, including the High Frog and the Star, which are not to be sneezed at; in addition to demonstrating a thorough working knowledge of the correct sequence, counts, cues, apparatus settings, rhythm and dynamics, and hands-on spotting of the exercises, Cynthia (the examiner) asked periodically for comments on the goals of the exercises, and on their suitability for the victim’s body.
Then Cynthia asked Betty to teach a few Advanced mat exercises as if for the first time, showing modifications and spotting for safety; following this, she requested a selection of exercises on some of the other apparatus. This part of the test is mainly designed to indicate that Betty will not drop her clients off the Wunda chair or decapitate them with the Push-Through Bar. Once satisfied on this score, Cynthia directed Betty and her victim to the Wall, where they finished the test with some aplomb.
The following day was the mat portion of the test; the studio’s regular Saturday morning Advanced mat clients gallantly stepped up and performed a flowing mat, arm weights, castanets and standing stretches. The overall effect was a little flat, and Betty was inclined to be unnerved by the fact that while testing requires a flowing sequence, the Saturday clients require a full hour; but it worked out tolerably in the end.
The upshot of all this was that Betty passed her practical, and her certificate is in the mail. Since her first seminar was in late January, the process has been swift and intense: her right ankle, broken just after the first seminar, still hurts; but the key thing is that it is absolutely worth it. Onward and upward!