“Patience and persistence are necessary values in order to achieve a successful outcome in any worthwhile endeavor.“ – Joseph Pilates. I am delighted to introduce you to the multi-talented Victoria Bader…fellow New Yorker, professional dancer, ballet instructor, and my personal Pilates guru. Her love of movement and extensive knowledge will peak your interest even if you’ve never discovered a love of dance. Read on for more of her story, including the program she developed specifically for postpartum moms, what you should look for in a Pilates instructor, her favorite things about NYC and words we should all live by.
Tell us a little about your professional progression from performing Ballet, to teaching Ballet, and now also teaching Pilates.
I started ballet lessons at 8 years old and it became obvious I was very suited to Movement and knew Ballet would always be in my life. Not only as a performer and teacher, also because culture, art and imagination are so important to all of us, it provides a place for our mind to go, grow and open then maybe change a POV. Additionally, I enjoyed being a place where anything is possible with HARD WORK that motivates growth. I began teaching at 16 years old, I discovered the ability to pass on information that was valuable to all my students that empowered them. The mind follows the body, once the body improved strength wise, the mind gets stronger and that inspires people. They see results, whatever they may be, this brings happiness.
You developed a program specifically for post-partum moms with little to no dance background. What is the basis of the program and what benefits have you seen?
From countless years in the studio with an International line up of excellent teachers, coaches and mentors, I developed a series of exercises and movements that enabled post-partum women to regain strength in the core and torso, which ultimately lead to further exploration in Pilates Method. It was later on in my dance career I fully pursued a high level of Classical Pilates education to deepen my knowledge specifically in core and pelvic strength. Having studied the classical technique thoroughly I understood that this genius method was structure purposely with an order of exercise, specific and detailed; each exercise relating to the next exercises. This demonstrated the required value of an order in which the body warms up, digs deeper in a curriculum and reason why we select certain exercises, before another. I have successfully worked with 100’s of postpartum women and have seen the results speak for themselves. This doesn’t happen without the work, the client needs to put time in and commit to work that may be strenuous, however, those that persevere see the results in the mirror and feel it internally.
“Patience and persistence are necessary values in order to achieve a successful outcome in any worthwhile endeavor.“ Joseph Pilates
How is Pilates similar to Ballet and how is it different?
Ballet and Pilates are both an “full body“ workout. Dependent on the desired outcome.
Ballet is fluid, the head is involved, therefore the spine is moving constantly. Pilates is strictly head on the spine, in line with the spine.
What drew you to dance initially and is that the same reason you still love it today?
Dance is in your DNA, or not, it clearly is in mine; it has been a lifelong pursuit – To become a professional Dancer involves an enormous commitment, discipline, a lot of sacrifices and hard work. One doesn’t do this for long unless there is some sort of calling. Almost in the blood! Pilates has a similar POV –
we are a work in progress till the day we die.
If someone is considering starting Pilates practice what advice would you give them?
It is important to work with a teacher whom understand anatomically what each exercise is designed to achieve. There are many wonderful teachers to choose from. Finding one that understands your body and understands the Pilates concepts is of utmost important. Additionally, it is the teacher’s job to instruct the client on what they need in order to gain the strength and flexibility required and to gently push the client further. Sometimes the client doesn’t want to do the work, they may be tired or unwell, once again, if the Pilates teacher understand breathing, the function of the parasympathetic nervous system, and how to get the client into their parasympathetic nervous system, the client will feel better when they leave the session. The work is not always fun and play, it is work! There are many considerations when deciding a Pilates instructor, the client needs to decide what their purpose is for the lesson. Are they merely looking for socialization or improvement in their body and posture, or are they an athlete that needs to up their game or just want to get their body into peak shape? Once a client understands how Pilates is meant to be and what it does, it’s a no brainer in selecting a good teacher. Look at their background, how many years of movement vocabulary do they possess. Observe the teachers posture, listen to what say, be open minded, unless you are an athlete, you may find the work intimidating at first, however, once you begin to understand the concepts of the exercise and see the results in your body, you will know what is good for you. I would recommend reading “Return to Life through Contrology” By Joseph Pilates.
What are some other activities you enjoy?
I travel, scuba dive, garden and adore theater. I live in NYC, so culture is a big part of my life.
What the best thing about New York City?
Diversity and convenience to everything.
Heels or flats?
Both, depending on my audience 🙂 Lately sneakers.
Favorite words to live by?
Golden rule—Treat others as you would like to be treated.