Categorized | A Conversation With

Sarita Allen

Posted on 17 August 2012

By Candace Sindelman

The former Alvin Ailey dancer, protégé’ of Kathy Grant, master Pilates teacher and choreographer will be leading a “Workshop for Muscle Tension Essential for Health and Vitality” on Friday, August 17 at the In Balance Pilates Studio in Sag Harbor.


What do you want people to take away from the class?

We’re going to focus on muscle release and want them to come away with a stronger practice of self-care, release old habits and experience total body freedom. To have ease and feel good in your body and feel good in your own skin. Most people have aches and pains. Marathoners and athletes can gain the same benefit as people who have never exercised in their life. Most of us don’t have the luxury of a masseuse every day; it’s basically a self-massage using your own bodyweight to release muscles. Think of it as a shiatsu massage; you will learn the trigger points. You will become your own masseuse.


What size is the muscle release ball that is going to be used in the class?

It’s about the size of a cantaloupe. It’s amazing the amount of possibilities the ball has. It weighs practically nothing; it’s made out of foam. It’s so easy to use.


How do you personally relate Pilates with dance?

It’s very interesting. I’d say before 40 years ago dancers just did dance for training, I’d say that was the way for most athletes in general. Starting 40 years ago the demands increased, it became more acrobatic and at a gymnastic level of difficulty. As the demands grew, more people had to start cross training to do new choreography to meet the new demands. Every dancer I know does some form of Pilates as a part of their regime. Balance is an important aspect of exercise, releasing muscles is just as important as making muscles. Any type of activity you need to have flexibility to move. The muscle can’t be tight or rigid. I have clients who are 85 or 90, who say, “Oh my God, I have never felt so good.” It’s never too late to start at any age.


What have been the rewards of teaching fitness classes?

My reward is working with people, who are not necessarily the athletic elite, but people who are just discovering their bodies. Pilates deals with the core, there is nothing metaphysical or magical about it. It is simply engaging all the muscles in the abominable wall, liver, spleen, everything. Through working out there is more energy. There is a connection between the mind, body and spirit. It’s been overused, but it’s been overused for a reason. Hopefully people will get that connection when they leave the class and begin to do it on their own. It’s a learning tool that I want people to adapt and play with and keep in their life. All people can benefit from this. It is a form of self-care and to empower yourself. At our studio we have an expression, “you feel it, you find it, you fix it yourself.”


The workshop will be held 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. Cost is $125 and includes muscle release ball, DVD and workshop handout. Workshops can be booked online at or call (631) 725-8282. Space is limited.


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