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A Song for Kathy

The BGPI 4th Annual Virtual Conference

By Roxy Menzies

Reflecting back on 2021’s BGPI conference, besides paying homage to Pilates elder Kathy Grant, the four days flowed with interwoven elements throughout.

The virtual conference opened with the eloquent Dyane Harvey-Salaam who bestowed her wisdom (of past and present). Dyane is like the cool Aunty you look up to, want to be like and hang off of her every word. She instilled and reminded us of all that is vital to being a teacher of Pilates; pride, self respect and joy. Dyane planted little seeds for the entire weekend and for each of us.

Following Dyane, Bridgette Duncan moderated a panel of exceptional instructors to discuss their Teacher Training programmes. Not only was it informative, intelligent and well-structured, it epitomized the seeds previously planted. All of the panelists have a unique voice that is seeped in quality, representation and an emphasis on pedagogy, community and safe spaces.

*stay tuned for a resource list of Black Teacher Trainers and programmes

Day 2 started with the indomitable Trainer Tyra sharing all kinds of gems about money. This was not your typical business seminar, Tyra unapologetically thinks outside of the box and tells it how it is!

Meoka McBride shared secrets and tips for everything around the topic of filming live classes, which prepped and segwayed into Day 3’s zoom extravaganza with Coach Renee Robin. And damn, there’s a lot more to zoom than anyone would guess! Coach Renee broke it all down, giving us a peek into the backend of how to run ‘tings.

Tanesha got everyone’s heart pounding with HIIT Pilates (and many options for making it low or high impact) while Jason Williams got all the kiddies (and our inner child) involved. Jason read his children's book Frankie does Pilates, taught a short class and shared insight about self publishing.

Martin Phils ended the day with a variety of teaching ideas using all kinds of props from chairs, balls, towels and bands. All in all it was a full, educational and fun day!

Last and certainly not least Day 4 started with a Kathy Grant based mat class taught by our Grand Diva Sarita Allen.

Phew.. and let’s talk about the final panel that included a wonderful cross generational group of Pilates folks that worked with, knew and/or loved Kathy Grant. Moderated by Teresa R. Ellis, it could be renamed “Waiting to Exhale” because our whole community has been holding onto A LOT!!!

This meeting of the minds, hearts and souls was one of the most touching, emotional and healing sessions that could happen for BGPI. As Dyane said, we were surrounded by the Ancestors and Kathy, who not only would have been proud and honoured, but would have bestowed her blessing to all of the panel guests.

There are so many Pilates conferences out there but the BGPI conferences are always educational, inspiring and steeped in Black excellence. Next year will be the 5th Anniversary of Black Girl Pilates and hopefully we’ll be meeting in person. It’s always around the same time every year, so plan ahead!!

The replay for 2021’s A Song for Kathy: Remembering the legacy of Kathleen Stanford Grant is available to rent for 30 days. Please contact Sonja for more information.

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