The Pilates Teacher and Dancer: Alyson Mattoon
March 1, 2016
This story is special because it’s about a dancer who became a teacher; a double whammy that combines two of my favorite, most awe-inspiring forces: The Dancer and The Teacher.
Not only did Alyson first recognize my Diastasis Recti; a separation of the outermost abs (and one of many pleasantries that accompanies pregnancy), but she helped me correct the condition with pilates, education and lots of TLC. She’s a gorgeous gem of a teacher who makes exercise fun, motivating and informative.
Bonus, when Alyson isn’t teaching at The Moving Joint (an inviting moving studio filled with support and love), she’s most likely rehearsing for a performance that you can see live and in person (if you live in LA). If you don’t live in LA, not to fret, Alyson will still inspire you…
where are you from?
I’m originally from Sedona, Arizona and I now live in Culver City. I moved to Los Angeles four years ago after an incredible ten years dancing with the State Street ballet in Santa Barbara.
what did you want to be when you were a kid?
A Ballet Dancer and a Dance Teacher.
what do you do now?
I’m a Pilates Instructor, Dance teacher, and professional dancer…
what was happening at the dinner table when you were growing up?
My parent’s valued dinnertime as an important time for all of us to be together. I remember being annoyed that I could never get out of the nightly family ritual of dinner. In hindsight I see what an important time that was and I’m thankful for it.
what dance habits did you developed that you’re now trying to change as a teacher?
Through my dancing I developed the habit of constantly judging my body and dancing on my “off days”. I would fixate on the negative for way longer than was necessary. I would also base my self worth on my dancing. It’s hard to separate yourself from something you are so immersed and passionate about. I try to stress the importance of technique in my teaching but remind my clients not to judge and to be thankful for what their minds and bodies can do. I’ve changed this self-critical attitude by focusing more on the positives. I’m totally okay with the fact that I have “off” days now and Pilates reminds me that a strong injury free body is worth celebrating everyday.
if you could spend time with any artist who would it be and what would you do?
I recently researched the life and career of Anna Pavlova (1881-1931). She embodied all of the qualities that make a dancer a true artist. She dedicated her life to spreading the art form and educating audiences around the world. I would have loved to travel around the world with her.
what’s your other dream job?
Broadway Star ( I cannot sing but always wished that I could)
what do you want to be doing in five years?
I want to be doing the same thing I am now while raising a family! My pilates mom clients are my heroes!
will you share a recipe for your favorite quick, healthy snack?
Flax seed crackers dipped in roasted red-pepper hummus.
what do you collect?
Thanks to my parents influence I collect Native American Indian Jewelry. My father has been in the business for years. My mom and I are wearing some of my favorites here in this picture. All of my jewelry has come from Garland’s Indian Jewelry in Sedona.
Photo credit: Blessing Quine