Friday, 28 March 2014

Kicking off the year with Pilates

Kieren gets in on the selfie trend!

Hello, back again to give you the lowdown on our January meeting. We started 2014 with something a bit different for our workshop. We went off-site and met up at Leeds Pilates Place, the brilliant pilates studio co-owned and run by our very own Darling Rose, Claire Sparrow. Claire and her team made us feel very welcome, and we installed ourselves in the matwork studio for our meeting and lunch. The first of our two guest speakers was Sue Vickerman, local poet, author and life model. Sue gave us a very interesting talk on her approach to her writing and life modelling, and how the two intersect. Much of Sue's creativity is channelled through her alter ego, Suki, who is (Sue told us) a much more daring, creative and successful version of herself! Sue told us how the work of Suki has taken on a life of its own, particularly through her blog. You can find out more at

Debbie with our guest, Sue Vickerman

Our second speaker was (naturally) Claire Sparrow, and it was lovely to hear about her career history and how she came to be the pilates impressario that she is! Claire was originally a dancer (who knew?!) and only discovered pilates when recuperating from injury. Shockingly, Claire told us that she didn't even like pilates at first! The tale of her developing love of pilates (she lives and breathes it now), and how she came to set up the studio with her business partner Kath Nisbet, was fascinating. We see Claire at our meetings and, yes, we know she's a pilates instructor, but other than that we knew nothing about how she's got to where she is today. It's very enlightening and interesting to hear about the personal journey of a friend - and, of course, it's very inspiring because there aren't too many in this life who can truly say that they're on a personal path with their career and have built something themselves.

Claire Sparrow tells all!

Talk and lunch done, we were raring to go. Some of us had the chance to try the reformer machines and various other swish and advanced-looking pieces of equipment, and others took part in a matwork session. The instructors were great, and very patient with us mostly novices. So, we all had a chance to limber up and have a good stretch - which was a good feeling on a cold January afternoon. I'll leave you with some pictures, but firstly must say thank you again to Claire and her colleagues for their hospitality and expert instruction. (Check out the final pictures to see Claire and co really showing us how it's done!)

Clair K and her new fella
A new man, AND she won a Banksy calendar in the raffle!


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