Heroes in Motion is an international initiative founded by the Pilates Method Alliance, inspired by instructors who are dedicated to facilitating functional movement with comfort and ease for those who experience severe impediments to motor control.
The initiative supports the development of an international network of Pilates teachers who offer movement instruction to eligible clients in their community. It serves clients with military and civilian affiliations. Conditions include and are not limited to polytrauma, vestibular disorders, prosthetic limb(s) and traumatic brain injury.
The inspiration for Heroes in Motion can be traced to PMA®-CPT Elizabeth Larkam's studio experience. Her project took root in 2008 when Mike Podlenski (Physical Therapy Assistant, Certified Athletic Trainer, Pilates instructor) invited Elizabeth to mentor him as he began the Pilates program within the Naval Medical Center San Diego’s Comprehensive Combat and Complex Casualty Care (C5) Program. Their collaboration grew to include the work of instructors Jessie Lee and Jojo Bowman, who founded a Pilates program for soldiers in Copenhagen, Denmark, under the auspices of the Royal Danish Ballet Foundation. Larkam mentored Lee and Bowman, developing Pilates studio movement sequences for bilateral amputees. Physiotherapist Hadar Schwartz, PMA®-CPT, at work with patients in the Pilates studio of the Zahal (IDF) Disabled Veterans Organization - "Beit Halochem", Tel Aviv, Israel, joined the group.
In 2012 the Pilates Method Alliance invited this international collaboration to make a home within the PMA as pioneers of the Heroes in Motion initiative. This first collaboration will serve as a starting point for the development of this area of work within the profession.
Under the auspices of the PMA, Heroes in Motion is eligible to receive tax deductible donations. The official announcement of Heroes in Motion was made on November 8, 2012 during the opening General Assembly of the 2012 Annual Meeting of the PMA. A composite DVD narrated by Larkam included Pilates studio footage from each of the sites. Danish Lance Corporal Christian Richardson, himself a double amputee, addressed the meeting, reading excerpts from his recently published book. Mr. Richardson described how Pilates has transformed his life and inspired him to become a Pilates instructor.
Preparing to do this work
The PMA and the Heroes in Motion Development Committee will collaborate to produce guidelines for the creation of appropriate continuing education coursework. Heroes in Motion as a PMA initiative is just beginning, and we look forward to sharing further developments and opportunities to participate in this new and important work as soon as the information becomes available. Please join our mailing list to receive updates.
Jojo Bowman, Royal Danish Ballet Pilates Studio, Royal Danish Ballet Foundation, Copenhagen, Denmark
Hadar Schwartz, Physiotherapist, PMA®-CPT
Zahal (IDF) Disabled Veterans Organization - "Beit Halochem", Tel Aviv, Israel
Acknowledgement: Michael J. Podlenski, PTA, Certified Athletic Trainer, Pilates instructor, uses the contemporary Pilates environment in his work at the Naval Medical Center, Comprehensive Combat and Complex Casualty Care (C5) Program, San Diego, CA
Heroes in Motion - Development Committee
Elizabeth Anderson, Executive Director, PMA, USA
Al Harrison, Director of Balanced Body Education, USA
Elizabeth Larkam, Balanced Body Faculty, USA
Trent McEntire, Director, McEntire Pilates, USA
Heroes in Motion Interviews
This film is a preview of longer individual interviews with Elizabeth Larkam,
Michael Podlenski, Hadar Schwartz,
Jojo Bowman, Jesse Lee and
Lance Corporal Christian Richardson.
Hear them share their experiences of using Pilates to assist this special population.
Polytrauma Pilates - A Pilates Documentary
This documentary short follows the Pilates rehabilitation of severely injured Danish soldiers who fought in Afghanistan.
Royal Danish Ballet dancer & Pilates teacher Jojo Bowman and Pilates teacher Jessie Lee taught the soldiers, using facilities at The Royal Theater (Det Kongelige Teater), Copenhagen, Denmark.