A professional dancer and Pilates instructor, Alex Estornel started his career performing with recording artists such as Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez. After sustaining an injury, Alex discovered a passion for Pilates, using the technique to rehabilitate and to correct misalignments, and going on to train under Carrie Macy, a Romana Kryzanowska alumnus. Based in LA, Alex will be making a trip to the Canary Islands, Spain, this August to run a special ‘Pilates Strength, Agility & Tone’ week. We find out more…
1. What was working with Britney and J-Lo like and how did you stay in peak condition whilst on tour?
Dancing with these superstars changed my life. They are both very caring and very kind people, regardless of what we read in the headlines.
I started dancing when I was 16 and knew immediately I wanted to pursue dance as a profession. I fell in love with ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop and ballroom. I set my sights on Los Angeles early on because I knew that’s where I could flourish and grow as a dancer. As soon as I moved to LA I had the opportunity to audition for a huge choreographer and was lucky enough to be cast for both artists he was working with, Britney and J-Lo. I saw places and things that only a few could ever imagine.
I had always been addicted to exercise and while dancing my exercise regimens centered around keeping my body fit in order to be able dance on stage for hours. It’s Pilates that allowed me to keep a solid core and kept me in optimum shape while on the road for years.
2. You intially got into Pilates to rehabilitate from injury, what was the injury and how did Pilates help?
While nursing and rehabilitating a sprained ankle, a friend introduced to me to Pilates. It was the only form of exercising that gave me the feeling of dancing while correcting my mis-alignments and injuries. I found myself being able to dance better and with more control if I continued a weekly regimen of Pilates. It ultimately prolonged my dance career.
3. What inspired you to carry on with Pilates after you had recovered?
The one thing that we all cannot escape is age and I knew I was coming to the ‘end of my days’ for my dance career a few years ago. Fortunately, in 2007 I met my Pilates mentor, Carrie Macy, who certified with Romana Kryzanowska, and she encouraged me to become certified. I had already been doing Pilates for nearly a decade and realized that teaching Pilates would be my transition to a new career.
Even after being certified I continued dancing and, with Pilates, found I still had untapped abilities in dance. It was only this past year I’ve decided to hang up the dance shoes and dedicate myself solely to Pilates.
4. What do you enjoy most about teaching Pilates?
The satisfaction of seeing progress and happiness in my clients.
5. You will be running a special Pilates week ‘Pilates Strength, Agility & Tone’ at Azul Yoga & Pilates in August, what can participants expect from the week?
The participants will fall deeper in love with Pilates and most importantly, discover how our bodies can adapt, change, modify, and strengthen with the right mindset and health regimen.
We will go in depth with the anatomy of Pilates and how we can fend off physical illness with a healthy lifestyle.
Finally, we will demystify the mechanics of the body and learn how a healthy kinetic chain is the key to a balanced and strong body.
6. What advice would you give to anyone starting out in Pilates?
When approaching Pilates for the first time, I always recommend tuning into your body and revealing to yourself exactly where your aches are, your strengths, your weaknesses, and most importantly staying safe through the motions you will be learning. You must first know where your starting line is before setting your sights on the finish line. Finally, be patient with your progress. Transformation comes with repeated practice.
If you would like to experience a week of Pilates with Alex, please find more details on the ‘Pilates Strength, Agility & Tone’ on the Azul website.
About the instructor
|Alex Estornel is a professional dancer and Pilates instructor, well known for his work in the TV, film and stage industry, performing with recording artists such as Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez. For over two years, Alex has studied under Master Instructor Carrie Macy, who is a Romana Kryzanowska alumnus. Based in LA, Alex will be making a trip to the Canary Islands, Spain this August to run a special ‘Pilates Strength, Agility & Tone’ week.|